Little crosses into Zambia in Africa expansion drive

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

Kenyan-founded ride-hailing firm Little has launched its service in Lusaka, Zambia, six months after the taxi app entered the Ugandan market in an expansion drive aimed at growing its business across the continent.

Kamal Budhabhatti, founder of Craft Silicon, which owns Little, told the Business Daily that his team began laying the ground for the Zambia entry back in November. Its service went live in Lusaka last Tuesday.

Little’s ride-hailing service is now available in five cities in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia.

The Kenyan app’s main rival in Zambia will be a local firm, Ulendo.

“So we are now in three African countries, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia. To start with, we have 200 Drivers on the platform in Zambia. We started our operations in Lusaka. In Zambia, we are working with mobile telecommunication company, MTN. Other cities that we operate in Africa include Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Kampala,” said Mr Budhabhatti.
Little launched its services in Uganda earlier in May, marking its maiden foray outside Kenya.


The expansion comes two years after the firm first announced its plan to venture into Uganda, Rwanda and Nigeria, a populous nation it has set sights on since setting up.

The company’s plans to enter the Rwandan market stalled before the June launch owing to legal requirements.

Mr Budhabhatti said the firm is required to register Little as a transport and not a technology company, a requirement that has stalled its venture into the landlocked country. He, however, said the firm is in talks with the authorities in a bid to have the issued resolved.

Little Ride launched in Kenya in July 2016 sparking off a price war that pitted it against Uber and Dubai-based Mondo Ride, which responded by slashing their fares.
In Kenya, the firm is also eyeing Nakuru and Eldoret.

Uber, the San Francisco-based taxi e-hailing giant, launched its services in Kampala, Uganda, in June 2016. The service is also available in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. Uber also rolled out its operations in Lagos in August 2014 while Taxify entered Uganda last year.