Arriving in style – Uber launches in Nairobi!
Ever taken a cab, dared to gaze down, and witnessed the road whizzing past beneath your feet?… One of those journeys where you have chosen to divorce yourself from reality, pretend that what you’re experiencing is perfectly normal and that your safety is not actually at risk? I had this pleasure when taking a yellow taxi in Lagos last summer with my perpetually late business partner (entirely his fault of course!), whilst desperately attempting to make a meeting across town. So I welcome Uber’s expansion into Africa (with their strict criteria for the quality of cars on-boarded) with open (and not shaken at all!) arms. Next stop on their African journey – Nairobi!
To set the scene – in 2010, Kenya’s tech exports exploded to $360m, from only $16m in 2002. Kenyans are incredibly mobile – there are 77 mobiles for every 100 Kenyans – well above Africa’s average of 65. Smartphone penetration is 67%, compared to the rest of Africa which averages between 12-18%. And 99% of all internet subscriptions are on mobile phones! With this technology backdrop, and Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, assuming the title “Silicon Savannah”, it’s no wonder Uber has just launched in Nairobi! To mark the launch, they have teamed up with Kenya’s local discover platform EatOut, to offer complimentary rides during Nairobi Restaurant Week. Any new users who sign up for Uber with the promo NRW2015 will get KES 2000 off their first two Uber rides.
On the Nairobi launch, Alastair Curtis, International Launcher for Africa, says:
“After a months’ worth of speculation, we are so excited to be launching in Nairobi with our uberX product. This new service means that you can now enjoy a seamless, efficient and safe ride at an extremely affordable price. The introduction of our service will revolutionise the way Kenyans go about their daily lives. Our mission for Nairobi is to provide the safest, most reliable rides at the touch of a button.”
Founded in 2009 in San Francisco, Uber is now in 54 countries across the world and over 260 cities. Its African foothold began with a Johannesburg launch in August 2013. They didn’t waste much time before following up with a Capetown launch in October 2013. Uber doesn’t arrive quietly – paying homage to Africa’s new- and old-school music! Last July they landed in Lagos, with hip hop artist Ice Prince being the first to grace an Uber car on his way to a recording session! In September they marked South Africa’s Heritage Day by enabling riders to request performances from the Soweto Choir in Johannesburg, and the Cape Town Minstrels in Cape Town! With Durban and Cairo also in the mix, Nairobi is the sixth city in Africa to launch.
Uber’s latest fund raising of $1.2bn (yes I meant to write billion – they now have $3bn in funding at a reported valuation of $40bn!) allows for further expansion into the Emerging Markets – so expect more to see Uber in many more African cities by the end of the year. I envisage a day not so far into the future where across the continent’s largest cities, there will be little reason to holla “Teksi!” (that’s “taxi” in Swahili!)
Interested in being part of the team responsible for Uber’s expansion into Nairobi? Join Movemeback for full details of roles available at Uber and to apply. You can also view teasers of the positions via the links below.