At the start of July 2016, news broke that two Tech giants had come together and devised an African Transport solution. The Tech Giants were Craft Silicon and Safaricom.
The Transport solution was Little Cab; a ride-hailing APP that was launched in Kenya to directly compete with the likes of Uber, and Taxify – that has since rebranded to Bolt.
According to Kamal Budhabhatti, the Little Founder and CEO, they introduced this APP to cushion African drivers from/against the several challenges they faced with foreign ride-hailing companies.
“Couple of years back, when ride-hailing Apps from the West were dominating the market, the driver’s interests were not being addressed. Every driver had an issue with how these platforms were operating. We felt that there was a need to come and address the challenges that these drivers were facing. That is how Little was formed,” Kamal said, adding;
“Today, the drivers’ community is really supporting Little because we listen to them and design products that are a win-win for both the drivers and riders. We have rolled out products specifically designed for women entrepreneurs. For example, on Little, we have a special product for women drivers.”
Six years later, Little has grown into a reliable ride-hailing platform with over 100,000 registered drivers and serving close to one million clients in Kenya alone. It has also since expanded to other countries like Uganda, Tanzania, and Ethiopia and is now headed to West Africa.
Motivated by this success, Little has now evolved into a super APP that addresses a variety of day-to-day needs. Its latest APP version offers competitive and quality services in logistics, payments, money transfers, transport, entertainment, and e-commerce.
“What we have realized over the years is that the mobile phone capacity of an African consumer is always a challenge. The customer can’t have one APP for rides, one for deliveries, one for payments and one for entertainment. So, we thought about bringing all these services together under one App, with great customer experience,” Kamal explained.
He added: “That is why we have now transformed Little from just a ride-hailing platform to your every day, everything App. With Little, you can now order for a ride, food, groceries, pharmaceutical products, transfer money and make payments among others.”
Kamal notes that Kenya and East Africa’s FinTech industry is very competitive and fast-growing as several innovators continue to think and develop solutions for the issues addressing their communities.
He nonetheless notes that the biggest challenge to the industry is the high transaction costs.
“When you send money from one account to another, when you buy airtime, when you make a bill payment, and when you pay a merchant, the transaction costs are relatively high. We believe that this transaction cost can be reduced,” Kamal noted.
40 Days 40 FinTechs.
Little is participant number 40 in the 2022 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative organized by HiPipo in partnership with Level One Project, Mojaloop, Crosslake Tech and supported by the Gates Foundation.
Little features as part of 40 Days 40 Fintechs initiative’s financial inclusion strategy that now covers the entire East Africa. More impactful FinTechs from all over the region are set to be showcased this year.
Innocent Kawooya, the HiPipo CEO explained that players like Little are key to shaping the future of Africa.
“The only little thing about Little is the English word little. Away from that, Little is doing amazing things for drivers and riders. It has now expanded its reach to cover a wider market. I have confidence in the Little Leadership and Team so I am sure that they have carefully scaled from ride-hailing to a super App. Their programs for women and youth are amazing,” Kawooya said.
Now in its third edition, the HiPipo #40Days40FinTechs has quickly grown into one of the world’s premier showcase events for the innovations that are enabling ever more people to join the digital economy space.
Kamal appreciates the great Financial Inclusion advocacy role that HiPipo is playing through platforms like 40 Days 40 FinTechs. He advises that such platforms are key to ending the ‘silo-mindset’ among innovators and ensuring that more FinTechs succeed.
“40 Days 40 Fintechs will help the FinTechs to shine. There are a lot of talented brains out there and a lot of FinTech companies outside there that are not well represented. I think this platform is where they can come and demonstrate their innovations. I applaud you guys for the 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative.”
Nicknamed Kenya’s Bill Gates by the Forbes magazine, Kamal Budhabhatti is also the founder of Craft Silicon – a Kenya-based Software company that currently serves over 300 institutions and clients globally.