At about 1300hrs on a nice November Monday in 2020, Safeboda announced that it had officially decided to pause operations in the Kenyan market, 11 days later on the 27th of the same month, the boda hailing app left the market just 4 years after its launch
The Motorcycle ride-hailing firm cited an unsustainable business environment due to the mass effects left behind in the wake of the novel Coronavirus.
Loyal fans of the startup flooded social media expressing their shock, dismay, and even disappointment, the app had been one of the more successful cheap ride-hailing startups and it was sad to say goodbye.
One year ago, I went out to really find out what happened to the Kampala-based startup, uncovering some shady privacy concerns where the company was accused of sharing data with data mining companies like Facebook without the consent of the users.
“You can argue and say the startup is here to stay, the startup is still operating in Uganda and Nigeria and while that is factual, it is not the startup that was founded in 2014. Safeboda died.” I opined.
Once again I get my notepad and go looking, and alas, the association representing Uganda’s local and global fintech community, SafeBoda – which trades as Guinness Tech Uganda Limited – was earlier in the year authorized by the Bank of Uganda to issue small electronic money transfers, as well as to operate medium funds transfer.
With the Bank of Uganda license, users in Uganda can now send money with the SafeBoda App for free, the start-up has also set up 200 agents across Kampala, where the users can withdraw and deposit funds.
That is not all, users who keep over 5,000 UGX (about $10) in their wallets now earn 10pc annual interest automatically.
Just like M-Pesa, customers can buy airtime, pay bills and buy goods, fuel in key shops, bars, and restaurants that accept payment via the app and stand chances to get rewarded.
Furthermore, the startup is also working with Posta Uganda to expand logistics in Uganda. Ugandans can use their app to deliver packages. Parcels are also insured with the new Safeposta premium service.
And as you can already expect, you can still use the app to hail a ride with ‘trained SafeBodas’.
With the monopoly that is M-Pesa, maybe Safeboda, the super-app, would have been welcome competition. What do you think? Check out our Telegram Channel and leave a comment!