GoMetro plots launches across Africa, targets IoT market

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South African transport startup GoMetro has plans to launch in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania in the next year, as the company transitions from media business to Software as a Service (SaaS).

Launched in 2012 to map and report on public transport in South African cities, GoMetro raised seed funding last year from the 4Decades Capital and AngelHub Ventures, and has since rolled out a number of new products.

Disrupt Africa reported in March the startup had mapped all transport routes around the Cape Town suburb of Belville as a proof of concept for its innovative new mapping techniques, while it also launched an “Email My Boss” functionality and GoMetro Mini, a mobi site designed for older phones and available to commuters in all of South Africa’s 11 official languages.

Chief executive officer (CEO) Justin Coetzee told Disrupt Africa the successful launch of the mapping software was a precursor to the startup’s expansion across Africa, with GoMetro targeting launches in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania – as well as Indonesia – in the next year.

“It is a case of getting a quality team on the ground and local, quality partners,” he said, adding that regional funding rounds were also an option.

The mapping technique having already birthed GoMapp, an Android app that allows users to map buses, motorcycles, taxis and minibuses to be included on GoMetro.

“We’ve been working really hard since our mapping proof of concept to finalise the app where we can map all transport,” Coetzee said.

“That’s going to be the key to our African expansion.”

The startup, which makes money from adverts and sponsorships, is also transitioning into a software as a service (SaaS) business, looking to break into the growing Internet of Things (IoT) market.

“In the last months we’ve increased revenues by five times quarter on quarter, and increased users by three times. We’ve seen massive growth,” said Coetzee.

“We see ourselves as a last mile mapper of sorts, so if we look at the world and we look at transit data, Australia, Europe, the United States (US) all have Google and Apple Maps,” he said.

“However the really hard thing is to compile and build that data. That’s what Africa needs, the digitisation of transit information so we can have services like Google Maps working in Africa.”

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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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