Lagos-based startup Ekocab has launched operations, applying an Uber-style model to existing taxi companies to help them access customers on-demand.
Founded in 2017, Ekocab launches to the public having signed a partnership with the Lagos State Taxi and Cab Operators Association to onboard its 7,500-strong taxi fleet.
This is where Ekocab differs from major competitors like Uber and Bolt. Though it connects riders with drivers in exactly the same way, and is open to independent drivers, its main focus is on bringing existing taxi drivers into the on-demand economy.
Co-founder Segun Cole said on-demand taxi apps had struggled in Nigeria due to things like poor driver knowledge, difficulties with collaborating with regulators, and lack of trust. All of these problems are overcome by working with established taxi companies.
“Ekocab was the solution to ease these frictions. Lagos will be the first city in Africa where taxi drivers, city managers, transportation regulators and unions coalesce around a service delivery platform,” he said.
“Through our app, taxi drivers and private car drivers can increase supply of rides, giving their users more choice and help increase the efficiency of the taxi system in Lagos.”
Cole also said Ekocab plans on expanding into new spaces in the future, incorporating bikes and rickshaws, as well as moving into the food delivery business. The self-funded startup is currently fundraising in order to scale.