Nigeria’s Plentywaka joins Techstars Toronto accelerator program
Another achievement for Nigeria’s start-up space, Plentywaka, a Nigerian bus-booking platform is set to expand its transportation services to Canada after its acceptance into the Techstars Toronto accelerator program.
Plentywaka launched in September 2019 went into logistics services across Lagos due to the pandemic-induced lockdown which affected businesses.
In order to further expand growth, it sought external investment and received $300,000 pre-seed from its parent company, EMFATO, and other early-stage investors like Microtraction and Niche Capital in August.
According to one of the co-founders of the start-up, Onyeka Akumah he explained that the company has doubled its services to interstate services into two cities in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, and following the announcement the company plans to immediately launch an interstate service across more cities in Nigeria.
While explaining the interstate services he said the service will see Plentywaka act as an aggregator in the partnership with some major bus travel companies, which collectively have more than 2000 buses and ply over 100 routes in the country so that commuters can see options of various transport companies, compare fares, and book on its platform.
PlentyWaka plans to expand across Africa and North America
Adding to what Akemah said, co-founder and president of Plentywaka Johnny Ena told TechCrunch that the start-up is getting to a point where it is now becoming more like an aggregator as it onboards transportation companies on its platform.
He said “Interstate travel in Nigeria is data insufficient, and we want to be the first company to solve this.”
Onyeka Akumah said in addition to this the new capital from Techstars, Plentywaka is looking to scale its platform across Africa and North America.
Akumah says this global expansion plan will start with a city in Canada, most likely Toronto, on or before Q4 2021.
The managing director of Techstars Toronto, Sunil Sharma while confirming the development said Techstars is backing the Nigerian mobility startup because it’s solving a massive problem in Nigeria that can be likened to urban transportation challenges in other populated cities worldwide.
“We know that Western cities have legacy transportation systems. However, there are many transportation challenges, even in a city like Toronto,” he said. “And we think that Plentywaka’s technology and approach in improving the lives of citizens and their daily commute needs can be brought over to cities in the West just as they are in Africa.”
Sharma disclosed that Plentywaka plans to launch its intracity service first after engaging the country’s necessary stakeholders before introducing the intercity model. Also, he believes PlentyWaka’s services in Canada will help its broken intercity transit infrastructure.
“Cities and towns here should have bus connectivity, but they quite simply don’t have it, and my view is that the arrival of Plentywaka will be an immediate option to the status quo. It will also resonate with people as a way to supplement existing transportation options,” he said.