Mobility startup, Treepz, has announced its expansion into Kenya and an additional $1.2 million investment from new and existing investors.
Over the last 12 months, the startup disclosed that it has raised $1.2 million from GIIG Africa Fund, MoAngels, Roselake VC, Unpopular VC, Goodwater Capital, and BKR Capital. Existing investors Shock Ventures, Novum Actus, Aston Investments, and Winston Limited also participated.
With its Kenya launch, Treepz now operates in four countries, while Kenya is its second East African base. The startup also operates in Nigeria, where it launched, Ghana, and Uganda.
To drive its growth in the East African country, Treepz has appointed Samar Patel as its Country Manager. Before joining Treepz, he was the Head of Transport as a Service and Software as a Service at Swvl.
In a statement shared with Techpoint Africa, Onyeka Akumah, the startup's Co-Founder and CEO, said, "We are thrilled by the addition of Samar to our team and the launch of Treepz Kenya in Nairobi. Today, our efforts are focused on building a centralised solution across the four countries we operate in and to provide Africans with excellent mobility services, for their personal and business needs. We hope this will be the experience Kenyans will enjoy with our service and remember, as we build a world-class mobility business for Africans and the rest of the world."
Treepz was founded in 2019 by Akumah, Johnny Ena, Afolabi Oluseyi, and John Shuaibu as a bus-hailing platform in Nigeria. At the time, the startup, which was named, Plentywaka, provided a convenient way for users in the bustling city of Lagos to book bus trips. Only a few months before its launch, Opera-backed OBus had begun operation and even Egyptian startup, Swvl had expanded to Nigeria.
In 2020, the startup launched a logistics arm as the COVID-19-induced lockdowns meant there were fewer trips. By 2021, the startup had raised $1.2 million from investors, gotten into Techstars, and acquired Stabus, a Ghanaian mobility startup. Additionally, it disclosed plans to expand to Canada later that year but very little is known of its operations in Canada. Since its launch, the startup has completed 2.7 million trips, with 1.6 million trips completed in the last year.
Africa's transportation sector is fragmented with numerous players, but commuting conditions still leave much to be desired. For Lagos, where Treepz began, rickety buses remain the primary means of transportation for most of the city's residents. All this presents an opportunity for startups looking to digitise the space.
This week, Kenyan-founded BuuPass announced a pre-seed round that it plans to use to grow its booking platform. However, raising a pre-seed round seven years after it launched operations could point to the difficulties that come with playing in the same space Treepz hopes to operate. Swvl's attempt to undo a 2022 acquisition could also be instructive.
However, Treepz's investors seem sold on the startup's potential, with Jo Griffiths, Co-Founder of GIIG Africa, expressing his organisation's excitement at working with Treepz. "As investors, we’re excited to be working with the team behind Treepz because we see mobility-tech as a key enabling factor for Africa’s socio-economic growth. For now, we look forward to supporting their efforts aimed at empowering Kenyan commuters."