GOJEK, Allianz X back Africa-based ride-hailing firm SafeBoda

Indonesia’s ride-hailing firm GOJEK and Allianz X, the digital investment arm of global insurance group Allianz, have co-invested in an unspecified Series B funding round for Uganda-based ride-hailing firm SafeBoda.

GOJEK made the investment through its venture capital arm Go-Ventures, per an Allianz X statement. The Indonesian firm has previously backed Bangladeshi ride-hailing app Pathao and is expected to re-up in the latter’s ongoing Series B funding round.

Launched in July last year, Kampala-headquartered SafeBoda offers on-demand ride-hailing services in Uganda and Kenya. In addition, it offers various on-demand consumer and payment services.

It has previously received a convertible note investment from London-headquartered Global Innovation Fund. It was also rumoured to have raised $1.1 million in funding last year although the company has never confirmed this.

‘Boda bodas’ is the term used in East Africa for motorcycle taxis. These are the main form of public transport in Uganda and Kenya.

SafeBoda was co-founded by a Ugandan bike-taxi driver and two European economists. It competes with Taxify Boda, Savvy Riders, Juu Boda and Uber in Kenya. At home, its rivals include Uber, Taxify Boda, Dial Jack (only bikes), Little Ride (cars) and Mondo Ride (cars and bikes).

“Our investment in SafeBoda underlines our continued commitment to growth markets. We are excited to participate in the development of ride-hailing ecosystems in Africa,” said Oliver Ullrich, Corporate Development Director at Allianz X, in a statement.

The deal marks the first investment in Africa for Allianz X.

Allianz X is an existing GOJEK investor. Last year, it announced an investment of $35 million in the Indonesian firm, marking its first deal in Southeast Asia. Its parent company Allianz has partnered with GOJEK to provide insurance for its driver partners in Indonesia.

Go-Ventures had recently co-led a $35.5-million Series A round for Indian mobile eSports gaming platform Mobile Premier League. Other known investments include digital TV startup Narasi TV and media startup Kumparan, both in Indonesia.

Go-Ventures has preferred to keep a low profile in contrast to rival Grab’s VC arm Grab Ventures, which announced a $250-million allocation for investments in Indonesia, GOJEK’s home market, last year.

DEALSTREETASIA had previously reported that unlike Grab Ventures, which invests off of Grab’s balance sheet, Go-Ventures plans to tap external pools of capital. With its parent company as its anchor investor, it is learnt to be raising a total of $180 million.

It is helmed by Aditya Kumar, a former SoftBank and Openspace Ventures executive, who is the firm’s vice president of investments.

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