ICT startup gets boost to develop safer taxi moto rides

SafeMotos is a start-up business in Kigali that is working to make every motorcycle taxis ride safer and convenient for users.
SafeMotos team. (Patrick Buchana)
SafeMotos team. (Patrick Buchana)

SafeMotos is a start-up business in Kigali that is working to make every motorcycle taxis ride safer and convenient for users.

It was founded by two longtime City of Kigali residents, Barrett Nash and Peter Kariuki, who confess that they too have been exposed to risks associated with taxi motor rides.

They explain that the biggest danger to passengers at the moment is that they have no idea about the quality of the riders whose services they hire. Whether the moto rider is on his first day on the job cannot be known to a customer.

With SafeMotos, a customer simply instructs the app where they want to be picked up from, indicate the destination and then choose a star rating for the quality of a driver. This will cost more to be able to get a good quality and experienced rider, but in addition to safety, there is added advantage of the convenience of being picked up from anywhere.

Nash and Kariuki’s innovation recently paid off when an Irish startup accelerator, Carma AXLR8R, heard about the concept. After a lengthy vetting process Carma, invested in SafeMotos last December and has given them a position in their accelerator where they will be collaborating with a talented product development team, benefiting from a global mentorship network and gaining access to additional investment opportunities.

The team behind Carma AXLR8R has also announced a $1 million prize to the first company which makes use of the Carma technology, as SafeMotos does, and also has its app being used for 10,000 rides per day within a single city.

SafeMotos co-founder and CEO Barrett Nash says that SafeMotos is ideally placed to meet the needs of the market.

“SafeMotos is looking to work with the huge, already existing market of moto riders. Instead of starting from zero, we need to work with just a small percentage of Kigali’s taxi moto drivers to pilot the project and then gradually role out to other areas.”

Nash believes Rwanda is a good place to develop technologies from that can positively impact the developing world. With relative ease of doing business, the rule of law, enormous investment in ICT infrastructure and passionate dedication to ICT, innovative businesses can be built here in Rwanda then expand to other markets.

With companies like SafeMotos, getting international investment and attracting globally minded entrepreneurs, it is becoming clear that Rwanda is on course to transform itself into an ICT hub.