Gozem, a motocycle taxi-hailing firm which launched operations in Lome, Togo in November 2018 has launched in Cotonou, Benin in its pan-African expansion move.
Armed with nearly $1m in funding it raised last year, Gozem, founded a Singapore-based Swiss entrepreneur is backed by Reengine Ventures, and is focused on West & Central Africa and is set to launch in Gabon, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, and Mali, then later expand into Ghana, Nigeria, and Rwanda to make it Africa’s biggest transportation app.
The firm also plans to launch new verticals such as food and last-mile delivery, mobile banking to its platform to be Africa’s Grab or Go-Jek in Africa.
To launch in Cotonou, the firm has partnered with Atlantic Assurance firm to provide insurance to its drivers and passengers. Like Uber and Bolt, Gozem vets and train its drivers before onboarding them to ensure the safety of both goods and passengers.
“We are pleased to offer our partner drivers and passengers insurance to guarantee their safe travel. This formalized partnership with Atlantique is an excellent illustration of the method used by Gozem to support its drivers in the professionalization of their profession while protecting our customers,” said Pierrick Houée, Country Manager of Gozem Benin.
With over 100,000 user accounts created and over 600 drivers on the platform, Singapore-based Swiss Raphael Dana says he was inspired to launch Gozem on his trip to Togo two years ago. When he found that there was no Uber or similar competitors in Togo, and in other West African countries, nothing could keep the 45-year entrepreneur back. He went back to Togo a year later and launched the service with inspiration from Singapore’s Grab and Gojek.
This expansion will not be an immediate competition to Nigeria’s Max, Gokada, Oride and several others in the market. Neither will it shake Uber, Bolt or CanGo but in the near future, these firms will compete neck to neck when the Africa Continental Free Trade Area treaty comes into place and the entire African market becomes less fragmented like it’s now.
Other competition will be from Russia’s inDriver, a venture-backed ride-hailing service with $10m in funding which has launched in Nairobi, Kenya, Kampala, Uganda, South Africa and in Arusha, Tanzania.
” Atlantique Assurance is proud to put its expertise at the service of Gozem, which will become a major player in urban transport in Cotonou and throughout Benin very soon with a very important security aspect. Our goal is to improve the efficiency of our actions towards drivers and drivers through this partnership,” said Corinne Gbenou Fourn, General Manager of Atlantique Assurance.