SA’s WhereIsMyTransport raises $1.5m funding

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South African transport technology startup WhereIsMyTransport has secured investment of GBP1.165 million (US$1.536 million) from Goodwell, Omidyar Network and Horizon Ventures as the first closing of a GBP2 million (US$2.6 million) seed round.

The investment has been secured to fund a new transit API launched by WhereIsMyTransport today, a new open information platform that collates transit data for formal and informal services and combines it with analytics capability and communication tools.

This journey-mapping capability is taken for granted in the developed world, but WhereIsMyTransport said it has the potential to transform transport in emerging cities where monthly commuting costs can be up to 46 per cent of an individual’s monthly income.

“The platform that we are launching today is the first open platform for integrated transit data in the emerging world. It creates a foundation for cities and innovators to bring much needed access and information about mobility to millions of people. It’s also just the beginning for us at WhereIsMyTransport as we work to empower people to get where they want to go,” said Devin de Vries, co-founder of WhereIsMyTransport.

The seed round is led by Goodwell Investments, which was also a member of WhereIsMyTransport’s angel round closed in September of last year. Horizon Ventures also featured in that round, while Omidyar Network is a new investor. The round has now been reopened.

“We are delighted to welcome Omidyar Network to the WhereIsMyTransport family. Their experience and commitment to the social impact of innovation is inspiring and aligns with our own purpose,” said de Vries.

“We also could not be happier that Goodwell Investments has joined us for another round, and now that we have launched our open transit data platform, we look forward to re-opening the round.”

The startup’s transit API has been built on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, to leverage Microsoft’s Platform-as-a-Service solutions, and combines data on formal and informal transportation from static and real-time sources.

This means that any transportation mode can be mapped and analysed through the API, whether it is city buses, metro systems or privately-owned buses and minibus taxis. The platform will support the development of journey-planning applications for websites and smartphones, fare estimators, analytics for more informed infrastructure investment and city planning, and messaging capabilities to help optimise journeys affected by delays and cancellations.

The platform contains formal transport information for Johannesburg, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, George and East London, as well as data for the new Dar es Salaam BRT system and the Cairo Metro. Informal transit modes are being added to the platform, starting with the matatu system in Nairobi, Kenya.

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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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