… after securing US$1.2m in seed funding from Techstars
Toronto-headquartered shared mobility startup, Plentywaka has acquired Stabus, one of Ghana’s leading mobility startup to expand its operations on the continent. The move is coming at a time the continent’s public transportation sector is gradually evolving with the emergence of new technology-driven modes of transportation.
With the start of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), movement on the continent is likely to see a significant increase and Plentywaka is ready to take advantage.
Stabus, launched in 2019 by its Co-Founder, Isidore Kpotufe has moved over 100,000 people in Accra. Their services include daily bus-stop to bus-stop transportation as well as providing staff bus solutions for multinationals like MTN Ghana and GB Foods, a portfolio that is set to increase in the coming days as Plentywaka’s ambition is to build the largest shared mobility platform on the continent, starting with West Africa.
Stabus’ branding would be changed to Plentywaka. One thing assured is the offering of a range of low-cost and premium vehicles which includes cars, mini-vans and buses for public transportation.
Isidore Kpotufe will become the first Country Manager of Plentywaka Ghana and will be joined by the current team of Stabus. Mr. Kpotufe in his remarks noted that: “With Plentywaka Ghana, we have an even bigger platform to do more: more buses, more routes and the offer of superior customer experience to our cherished users. We will revamp our daily commuter bus service, now called Dailywaka, and deepen our partnerships with corporate clients as well; all this will be done in the most efficient, convenient and environmentally-friendly manner.”
Plentywaka’s Co-Founder & CEO
Plentywaka’s Co-Founder and CEO, Onyeka Akumah said, “Plentywaka’s acquisition of Stabus is a firm statement about our commitment to grow and build the largest shared mobility startup in Africa, one country at a time. Isidore is a brilliant entrepreneur and we are excited about having him and his team execute our plans for the Ghanaian market as Plentywaka Ghana’s operations commence on the 16th of September in Accra.”
He added that, in addition to the work in Ghana, the company was also happy about the progress made in Nigeria as well to scale Dailywaka service that provides bus-stop to bus-stop transportation service for thousands of commuters.
“Today, we have moved close to half a million people and that’s a credit to the effort of my team, our heroes (a term used to describe Plentywaka drivers) and our investors who continue to believe and support our growth with their investments. With our Travelwaka service, we have been able to cater for interstate travellers across 21 cities in Nigeria and we are looking to expand to more cities as new bus partners sign up with us,” he said.
Plentywaka’s acquisition of Stabus comes in the wake of the announcement of its seed round of US$1.2M, only two months after successfully ending the Techstars Toronto Accelerator Program in July 2021.
This investment in Plentywaka attracted a wide range of investors from Canada, the United States, China and Nigeria. The Xchange, a Toronto based fund, led this seed round, while Techstars followed on their previous investment in Plentywaka to participate in the round as well.
Other investors include SOSV, the most active VC globally in the angel/seed deal type and ShockVentures, a VC from the United States.
Nigerian investment firms that participated in the round include Argentil Capital Partners and ODBA & Co Ventures, an early-stage investor in Kuda Bank.
There were also angel investors from Canada, the US and Africa who also participated in the seed round to give Plentywaka the much-needed boost to continue its impressive growth.
Also speaking on Techstars participation in the Plentywaka seed round, Sunil Sharma, Managing Director of Techstars Toronto said, “We are incredibly excited by our investment in Plentywaka. Techstars is a huge believer in the future of Africa and a proud supporter of African entrepreneurs. Onyeka is a two-time Techstars founder which deepens this relationship further.”
Todd Finch, Founder and Managing Partner of The Xchange, the lead investor in the seed round, commented “The Xchange is on a mission to fuel purpose-driven founders with the capital and resources they need to realize the world-changing potential of their ideas. Given Onyeka’s proven track record, his teams undeniable thirst for making an impact, and Plentywaka’s impressive growth, we knew this was an opportunity we wanted to invest in.”
With over 25 years of experience in building innovative technology startups, Todd Finch shared “the Xchange is excited to help Plentywaka accelerate and scale their impact. “We are excited to support Onyeka and the team with the resources they need to realize the full potential of their vision to change the African transport ecosystem.
We have been most impressed with Plentywaka’s human-centred approach, putting the drivers as the heroes of the story while creating an exceptional passenger experience. We are committed to supporting the vision of Plentywaka, its founders, and its journey for many years to come.”
COVID operational impact
Despite suspending its operations for 5 months in 2020 as a result of the global pandemic, Plentywaka has still been able to get 960 vehicles registered on its platform and help its riders commute more than 480,000 times in less than 2 years.
According to Onyeka Akumah, expanding into Ghana is just the beginning for the team as it aligns with its Pan-African expansion plan. He said that Plentywaka is going to replicate its model across 6 other African countries within the next 2 years and will be looking for the right kind of investors and partners to join the ‘black and yellow’ movement to provide the best-in-class transportation service connecting cities and communities with technology across Africa.