CanGo, on-demand ride-hailing platform has called it a day, just seven months after it launched in Kinshasa.
SafeMotos, an on-demand ride-hailing platform focusing on motorcycle taxis in Kigali had officially launched in Kinshasa, DRC and rebranded to CanGo.africa to bolster its super app ambitions but things didn’t go as planned.
Speaking to TechMoran and also quoted by other media, Barrett Nash co-founder and CEO CanGo said, “We are trying to find a deal that brings us to the next step, but I am not going to leave employees high and unpaid.”
CanGo was the start of the firm’s plans into other verticals such as FoodGo, AlcoholGo, and everything Go and the firm had a first-mover advantage into the country. Nash had told TechMoran, “We are excited to be a first mover in Kinshasa, Africa’s third-biggest city, and believe that we can grow into being a single app that provides many on-demand services in one. Think Glovo plus Lynk but CanGo.”
CanGo had no plans of adding cars on its platform yet because motorcycles gave them a chance at bringing additional services to their users from within a single app. It was a natural choice to focus on motorcycles as they are such a flexible way of moving a huge variety of goods and people.
“As soon as we decided to orient our future towards multiple on-demand services, then it’s a natural choice to focus on motorcycles as they are such a flexible way of moving a huge variety of goods and people,” he added.
Peter Kariuki and Nash chose Kigali over Nairobi because “in Kigali, transportation is quite good already, and with the limited size of the market it means that we’d set a relatively low ceiling for our ambition”. They also said that the opportunity for disruption of on-demand companies in African cities was bigger than expected.”
“We decided we wanted to go to where we could have the biggest impact and fight to own the biggest piece of the economic pie: for us this is Kinshasa, with 14 million people, good 3G/4G, no startups of note and some of the most challenging transportation factors in Africa,” Nash told TechMoran.
The closure of CanGo means its SafeMotos Institute, will close too. The firm had eyes on expanding across Africa and Lagos was big on their mind.
“We’re watching with a lot of interest, specifically with how Lagos has boomed overnight. We are very interested in a different subset of markets though than the ones that we already perceive as crowded. As a startup we’re always raising money and are always on the prowl for strategic investors who share our vision,” Nash said.
With over $1m funding, CanGo believed it was well-positioned compared to its competitors but that was not the case. It never got to excel in Kinshasa.
“We believe if we can excel in Kinshasa, then we are very well positioned to expand into other challenging markets that have been underserved by technology providers. As with everything in startups, timing is a huge factor, right now we feel like the window of opportunity is open, but we need to move fast if we’re not wanting to miss it,” Nash concluded.