Ugandan startup, Ugabus, has been acquired by Nigerian mobility startup, Treepz in a rare exit in the Ugandan startup ecosystem. The terms of the deal were undisclosed. Uganda becomes the second market that Treepz will expand into after Ghana, in which it acquired Stabus.
Ugabus was started in 2016 by Ronald Hakiza after he failed to secure a direct bus for a burial of a relative. He ended up using three commuter taxis to get to his destination which cost him three times his would-be expenditure.
Using the Ugabus App, a customer can book a ticket/seat on any bus operating locally in Uganda and those that ply regional routes like Dar-es-salaam, Kigali, Nairobi, Kinshasa etc. Ugabus claims to have 70 per cent of bus operators in Uganda on its platform and has integrated mobile money technology to ease payments.
The startup has raised just over USD 200,000. In 2016, it was one of the recipients of the Tony Elumelu Foundation grant of USD 5000. It also won a USD 10,000 from the United States African Development Foundation (USADF). In 2018, it received further grants of USD 100,000 each from the Africa Entrepreneurship Award and the BMCE Bank of Africa Group.
Hakiza will now take up a role as the Country Manager of Treepz Uganda. On top of the inter-town bus tickets, the startup will also be expanding to provide co-operate travel services where companies can hire buses and staff pickups/drop-offs. They will also introduce “daily treepz”, a service where customers will enjoy a daily commuter experience in and around the city.
What is Treepz?
Treepz was founded in 2019 as Plentywaka in Nigeria and rebranded to the former in September this year. 2021 has been an impressive year for the startup. It was accepted into the Techstars Toronto Accelerator program and also raised a USD 1.2m seed funding. These are the funds it used to begin its expansion to other African markets starting with Ghana where it acquired Stabus.
To close out its seed round, Treepz raised a further USD 1.6m to bring its total seed round to USD 2.8m. Investors in this round included Google for Startups Black Founders Fund Africa and Japanese firm Uncovered Fund. Other investors were Blanford Capital, Jonomi Capital and Jedar Capital. Treepz used some of these funds to acquire Ugabus.
Apart from helping its users to book daily rides along fixed routes, it also acts as an aggregator for bus travel companies in 21 cities in Nigeria. This helps the operators to replace manual servicing and ticketing with digitalized offerings/services.
Featured Image Courtesy: Innovation Village Uganda