Photo Credit: Little Ride/ Twitter
Kamal Budhabatti, the Indian-Kenyan entrepreneur and the CEO of taxi-hailing app Little, is looking for newer territories to conquer after marking a presence in the Africa country. The company now plans to look for an investor in Silicon Valley next year to help it expand all over the continent.
Little, the one-year-old app that has a partnership with telecom operator Safaricom, is already challenging Uber for the top spot in the local market.
Little has 5,000 drivers in its opreations, who can offer 12,000 rides in peak times, Budhabatti, 40, told Reuters, adding that Little is now in the second spot in the local market.
Uber said it has 5,000 active drivers and 3,45,000 active users in Kenya, according to the news agency. But the taxi-hailing giant did not reveal the actual figure of daily rides.
“We want to see if we can get someone from the (Silicon) Valley who can come help us to scale the company. Our aim is to become the taxi-hailing firm for the continent,” Budhabatti said, Reuters reported.
Nairobi-based software developer Craft Silicon is the parent company of Little, which has invested $6 million in the taxi-hailing app. In a month’s time, Little is planning to start its operations in Nigeria, to be followed by its debut in Ghana.
The USP of Little
Budhabatti, who was earlier called ‘Kenya’s Bill Gates’ by Forbes, claimed that Little offers extra features to beat their competitors in the market. One of the major highlights of the Little app is the presence of an SOS button. If the customer feels unsafe during the trip, this button can be pressed, and within five minutes, the passenger will get an escort from police or some partner security firm. Little also offers wifi in all their cabs.
“We are competing with some of the bigger players,” he said in the interview. “If you want to win you can’t beat them on capital, you can only beat them on innovations.”
Budhabatti’s Success Story
Born in Jamnagar, Gujarat, to a newspaper-vendor father, Budhabatti graduated in physics and found it hard to find jobs in India. He then migrated to Kenya as a data entry operator. The turning point in his life came in 2000, when one of his friends informed him about a bank that badly needed a clearing house software.
Budhabatti, who studied software developing as a pastime activity, took up the assignment and started working on the software during his office hours. When his boss found out that he was using office hours for other jobs, he was fired instantly and deported back to India.
He vowed to return to Kenya, and raised money in India. He reached Kenya again and started working on the software once more. Thus Silicon Craft was born in 2000. His software became the hottest product among financial institutions.
Now, Silicon Craft has more than 200 clients in over 40 countries across Asia, Europe, America and Africa.