Ugandan startup SafeBoda, which operates an Uber-style app for motorcycle taxis with added safety features, has raised GBP160,000 (US$227,000) in funding from the London-based Global Inovation Fund (GIF) to help it through its pilot phase.
SafeBoda aims to create a commercially viable network of safe motorcycle taxi drivers, providing drivers on the Uber-style app with helmets and driver training.
The convertible note investment from GIF – a non-profit innovation fund – will help fuel SafeBoda through their pilot phase, while they iterate their revenue model and prove demand for their services.
“Despite receiving comparatively limited resources and attention, road traffic safety is ripe for innovation and disruption. SafeBoda is a high-potential innovation whose testings offers valuable lessons for the entire sector,” GIF said.
“SafeBoda’s model creates clever incentives for behaviour change. SafeBoda has adapted some of the lessons from the success of group lending in microfinance to road safety. Just as borrowers want to recruit safe money managers to their loan group, SafeBoda drivers want to recruit safe drivers to the network. SafeBoda uses financial incentives and peer pressure to fuel changes in motorbike drivers’ behaviour.”
GIF is supported by the UK Department for International Development (DfID), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Omidyar Network, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia.
The investment in SafeBoda came as one of eight investments or grants made by the organisation at its launch, with total disbursed funds totally GBP3 million (US$4.25 million).
Also included within the disbursements was a GBP150,000 (US$213,000) convertible loan to PoaPower for a pilot in Kenya of a new business model that provides off-grid communities with affordable clean energy using an innovative ‘pay-as-you-go” model.
“Through these inaugural investments, the Global Innovation Fund is demonstrating our audacious mission to back ambitious social innovations that scale to reach millions of the world’s poor,” said chief executive officer (CEO) Alix Zwane.
“We look to support ground-breaking new ways to lift people out of poverty, improve the quality of their public services, and help them live healthy, productive lives. Our unique approach, supporting the best social innovators across all sectors and geographies, is responding to the demand for increased effectiveness and delivering impact right across the developing world.”