BY TOM JACKSON
Nigerian shared mobility startup Treepz has closed out its seed round at US$2.8 million and expanded to Uganda with the acquisition of bus company Ugabus.
Founded in 2019 and known as Plentywaka until its September rebrand, Treepz operates a digital platform allowing passengers to book daily rides along fixed routes. It also serves as an aggregator for bus travel companies across 21 cities in Nigeria, allowing transport operators to replace manual servicing and ticketing with digitalized offerings and services.
The startup earlier this year secured US$1.2 million in seed funding and announced the acquisition of Ghanaian startup stabus as it began its pan-African expansion, building on an already-impressive year in which it was also accepted into the Techstars Toronto accelerator programme.
It has now raised a further US$1.6 million in funding, closing its seed round at US$2.8 million, with additional funding coming from the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund Africa, Japanese VC firm Uncovered Fund and Dubai-based VCs including Blanford Capital and Jonomi Capital. Egypt-based fund Jedar Capital also participated in the round with follow-on investments from previous investors.
Onyeka Akumah, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of Treepz, said the startup would use the funds to aggressively expand its on-demand ride-sharing and intercity bus ticketing services in Africa. This is a process that is already taking place, with Uganda’s Ugabus becoming its second acquisition of the year.
Launched in 2016, Ugabus currently has 70 per cent of all bus operators in the East African country on its platform, with in-built mobile money technology for easy payments. The exact terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Ugabus will now be renamed as Treepz Uganda and the startup’s CEO Ronald Hakiza will become Uganda country manager for Treepz.
“Everyone at Treepz is excited to welcome the team at Ugabus to the Treepz family. This has been in the works for sometime, along with our deal that happened in Ghana a few months ago, and so we are really happy about closing the deal successfully. East Africa is an exciting target for Treepz and from Uganda, we would work with this new team led by Hakiza in Uganda to explore our growth plans across the neighbouring countries as we aim towards building the largest shared mobility platform in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Akumah said.
Takuma Terakubo, CEO and general partner of Uncovered Fund, said Treepz had impressed his team with its “remarkable traction” in the latter part of the year, and said the startup was poised for even further expansion.
“Treepz is building the most important mobility infrastructure in Africa’s megacities. The development of public transportation is essential in African countries where urbanisation is advancing. We look forward to their building the infrastructure for people’s mobility through digital value. As a Japanese VC who places importance on the mobility industry, we would like to provide a lot of value to them,” he said.