Bike-hailing blues

The Unspoken Missteps That Pushed SafeBoda Out Of Kenya

By  |  March 16, 2021

With the exception of certain endeavours wrapped under the pompous cover of “essential services,” normal business activities were either paused or restricted for much of last year as the fast-spreading coronavirus brought the world to a standstill.

Now, essential services can be a mashup of many different things in many different places, but there was kind of a global consensus on one thing: any business that helps people get important stuff while keeping them in their homes is essential.

Therefore, it became a popular view that e-commerce firms, as well as the logistics companies that make online buying and selling happen, had found an unusual boon time, as had e-learning and streaming platforms. So, it was a bit against-the-run-of-play when one of East Africa’s most prominent mobility startups, SafeBoda, opted to quit operations in Kenya last November.

Why would a well-known player give up a prime piece of mobility real-estate like Kenya’s?

More curiously, why throw in the towel at a time when the industry was thought to be booming, as shown in the fact that SafeBoda reported 100,000 food deliveries across Nairobi in March 2020, just four months after launching the service and eight months before calling it quits in Kenya altogether?

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