Township entrepreneur to launch South African e-hailing service

A Mamelodi Township resident and entrepreneur, Karabo Mogajane, will be launching a new local ride e-hailing service in South Africa. 

Mogajane has plans to launch the e-hailing platform, Ambee, at the Innovation Hub by the Festive Season or in the early months of 2021.

Speaking to Ventureburn, Mogajane described himself as a “very passionate entrepreneur” that aims to assist in developing South Africa’s tech infrastructure.

“I believe there is so much untapped potential, especially within our youth, developing innovative and sustainable solutions to tackle environmental, economical, and social problems are where I believe we can truly make an impact and drive our nation forward,” said Mogajane.

Ambee aims to provide solutions that both drivers and their clients face with a subscription-based model for the drivers. Drivers will pay a monthly fee and keep the profits that they make from the rides.

Personalised relationship with drivers

Mogajane first got the idea to develop Ambee in 2018 after speaking to a driver for a popular e-hailing service, while on his way home from an event at the University of South Africa (UNISA). 

He explained that he was shocked when learned that drivers felt that they were being unfairly treated and that they were unable to earn money due to the market being oversaturated.

After this initial conversation, Mogajane decided to visit the e-hailing “hot spots” at shopping centres and in commercial areas in Pretoria to find out if other drivers shared the same problem.

“To my surprise, 9/10 drivers had the same problem. After conducting more research I saw an opportunity not just to create a new business but to tackle a problem that can change a lot of people’s lives and then Ambee was born,” said Mogajane.

With Ambee, Mogajane aims to develop a personalised working relationship with drivers through having a controlled amount of drivers to match customer demands.

Karabo Mogajane, Founder of Ambee (Supplied)

Successful trial testing of Ambee

The first trial test for Ambee was conducted in December 2019. The involved leasing out an e-hailing platform so that Mogajane and his team could become familiar with the infrastructure and internal processes of an e-hailing platform.

“We went around malls in Pretoria and Johannesburg recruiting drivers and talking to them while refining our concept. We managed to conclude the first trial with a database of 200 drivers,” said Mogajane.

Mogajane explained that it took his developer seven months to develop the beta version of the app. He explained that one of their biggest challenges was the limited resources and funding.

“We had to scrape up the money for resources and meetings. It was really stressful and challenging as we received multiple offers from development companies that could give us a top-notch app but we didn’t have the financial muscle,” said Mogajane.

He added that there were times when he and the team felt that the platform would not take off because of the low resources. But the support that they received from the drivers, pushed Mogajane and his team to keep going.

Ambee had been funded through Mogajane and his team’s personal resources. 

The incubation facility, Mlab has provided Mogajane and his with office space as well as business skill programmes and seminars and events.

However, the startup has been in talks with an investor and they are open to including an external partner to provide funding for the startup to fine-tune the app and expand.

Read more: SA tech startup expands platform to provide e-hailing service for women
Read more: Local startup launches Uber competitor 

Feature image: Ambee, Facebook 

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