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After Launch in Nairobi, Safaricom’s Little is going to Nigeria

by Milicent Atieno
After Launch in Nairobi, Safaricom's Little is going to Nigeria

Following what can be described as some successful launch in Nairobi. Well, it did manage to disrupt Uber’s service enough for it to lower its prices! The Uber-wannabe taxi hailing service Little (formerly known as Little Cab) is now planning on launching in Nigeria early next year.

Other than Nigeria, the Craft Silicon found and backed by Safaricom service is also planning to launch in Uganda. The biggest problem, however, is that Little was founded through a partnership with Kenya’s leading mobile service provider Safaricom, and Craft Silicon.

While Craft Silicon has footprints in many other countries, Safaricom operates within the borders of Kenya. That would mean for Little operations outside Kenya, Craft Silicon will have to go at it alone or seek other partners other than Safaricom.

We are now only operating in Kenya, but we are launching in Uganda soon. Safaricom is a good partner but they may not be in every market, but we have to figure out how to grow the business to other markets,” said Kamal Budhabhatti, the CEO of Craft Silicon. “Craft Silicon operates in 45 countries globally, and we are going to launch in all these countries even if Safaricom is not there. We are launching in Nigeria in the Q1 of 2017.”

Little’s track record in Kenya

According to Kamal, Little currently has 1,500 drivers in Kenya. On a typical day, Little makes between 4,000 and 5,000 trips.

As far as product differentiation goes, Little, unlike Uber, also doubles up as an M-Pesa (mobile money) service agent. Meaning commuters can withdraw cash from their mobile wallets from the drivers chauffeuring them around town.

Little through Safaricom, is also able to give drivers free mobile data to connect them to the internet while they are on duty. That automatically lowers the cost of operation for business; much lower than Uber drivers who must purchase mobile data while on duty.

The service has also come up with a special package for the different market segments. For the ladies, you get Lady Bug service, which enables commuters to ask hail taxis being driven by lady drivers. For passengers feeling more comfortable with a female driver sitting behind the wheels. However, the Lady Bug service only runs from 6 AM to 6 PM for all passengers. After which only female passengers can request rides with female drivers.

Little also has a special arrangement with corporate customers. Whereby corporate can subscribe to Little package for convenient transport of its employees. This option has the disadvantage of employees’ movement being tracked by employers down to the exact address, time of departure, time of arrival, and the stops made and routes taken.

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