Taxi hailing firm Little gets Sh324m for West Africa expansion


Little CEO and Craft Silicon Founder, Kamal Budhabhatti. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenyan e-hailing taxi firm Little has received a Sh323.85 million ($3 million) from its parent firm for its expansion to West Africa.

Little received the funds from Craft Silicon to launch operations starting with Ghana’s capital Accra, where the firm is piloting the app service.

Due to current travel restrictions, the firm said it will run the pilot, training and recruitment of drivers virtually.

“West Africa is a large market, and if Little have to be a key player in Africa, we need to be present there in addition to East Africa. Hence the march towards West Africa,” said Little CEO and Craft Silicon Founder, Kamal Budhabhatti.

“We have already started testing the product in Accra. Since travel may be an issue, we are taking an approach of opening a new city without visiting there. We would recruit drivers online, provide training online.”

Little has previously used the virtual approach to pilot its products and successfully start operations in other markets. The same concept was tested in Tanzania with Dodoma and Arusha, and according to Mr Budhabhatti this was without even making a single visit to those places.

“Accra being a big city like Nairobi, having fully virtual opeartions is not recommended. So we would be recruiting some staff there, and interviews are underway. But we are going to try and make as much as possible to operate virtually keeping in mind the new normal,” he said.

This will be the fifth country of operation for Little after Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia. The firm indicated that plans to expand into a second West African city were still in the discussion phase.

Little has been adding products and services to its app over the past few months.