Kenya’s Ma3Route raises $25k pre-seed round

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Kenyan traffic app Ma3Route has raised a pre-seed round of US$25,000 from a group of five investors as it embarks on expansion outside of Nairobi and adds other features to its product.

Mostly bootstrapped since its launch in late 2012, Ma3Route is a crowdsourcing technology platform that looks to solve mobility issues in emerging cities. The transportation-focused web, mobile app and SMS platform is designed to enable commuters to share information in real-time.

The startup recently hit 500,000 active users, one month ahead of its growth plan, and has now raised some funding as it looks to expand its offering. Already launched is #Ma3RouteCheck, which provides contextualised automated Nairobi traffic updates at specific hours.

“Ma3Route now provides objective traffic info via its mobile app, website and social media channels,” said chief executive officer (CEO) Stéphane Eboko.

“The company monetises this service by allowing advertising clients to sponsor #Ma3RouteCheck for a fee.”

The startup is also actively pursuing an ongoing partnership with MIT, which sees a cohort of MIT Masters students work on various topics, including navigation on the app, matatu fares, Nairobi road safety and Ma3Route data. The teams will be back in Nairobi from mid-March to pursue its field research.

Previous Ma3Route traction had been achieved without significant funding. The startup won the Pivot East competition in 2013, gaining the support of m:lab East Africa in the form of office space as well as a grant.

Ma3Route was generating revenues soon after, which it used to self-fund part of its development.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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