Ulendo launches Uber-style taxi app in Zambia

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Zambian startup Ulendo Taxi is looking to take advantage of Uber’s lack of presence in the country with the launch of its on-demand taxi app.

There is no suggestion of any imminent Uber launch in Lusaka, a situation the newly formed Ulendo is looking to take full advantage of.

Now live with 40 drivers and 500 users, Ulendo is to all extents and purposes an Uber clone, though there are a couple of differences.

“We help people get a ride at the tap of a button – there’s no flagging a taxi or entering an unfamiliar car. It’s the most convenient way to get a safe, reliable and affordable ride,” founder Haggai Mandefu told Disrupt Africa.

So far, so Uber, but Ulendo has some variations. Firstly, users for for their ride in cash, something Uber has introduced in only a handful of markets. Mandefu said Ulendo is more targeted than Uber with the number of available cars it shows, while users can also see the status of their request with each driver shown on the app.

He said the startup had also received requests for drivers to be able to transfer credits from their apps, a functionality Ulendo had incorporated.

“Drivers can send credits from their account to their friend’s straight from the driver app,” said Mandefu.

“As we know, many drivers have their own clients preferring to call them directly to get a cab. It may happen that the driver cannot accept the job because he is on another ride or the client’s pickup location is too far from the driver’s. Now with the credit transfer feature, a driver can send the job he cannot take to his fellow driver and get a commission for that.”

Ulendo is currently only available in Lusaka, but aims to cover the whole of Zambia in time. It expects to grow its fleet to 500 drivers by the end of the year, and is aiming for 3,000 users by then.

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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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