Bike-Hailing Startup Turns to Food Delivery After Ban in Lagos

Gokada Rides Ltd., a Nigerian ride-hailing firm, is bolstering its e-commerce and food delivery business with an app to lure users in Africa’s biggest economy.

The startup diversified into last-mile delivery and logistics last year after Lagos state banned motorbike-taxi services. Gokada also plans to re-introduce its bike transportation in Ogun and Oyo states, where they are still allowed to operate.

Gokada joins rival Jumia Technologies AG in tapping a market where global giants such as Amazon.com Inc. have yet to make inroads. Gokada Chief Executive Officer Nikhil Goel is keen to emulate the success of Southeast Asian e-commerce giants Gojek and Grab Holdings Inc. in Nigeria. The nation’s food-delivery industry is projected to grow to a $10 billion market by 2025, according to Statistica.

Gojek and Grab offer consumers a wide array of services on the back of their bike delivery platforms, from ride-hailing to food delivery to e-commerce, Goel said in an email.

“This is exactly what Gokada does as well,” Goel said. “We are excited by what Gokada has the potential to become in Africa.”

The tech startup was initially founded to ferry passengers through the congested motor ways of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub.

Still, it will have to contend with Jumia, which serves clients globally and was the pioneer in the Nigerian market.

Gokada plans to add about three other Nigerian cities to its delivery network by the end of the year including the nation’s capital Abuja, Port-Harcourt, Nigeria’s oil hub and West Africa’s largest city of Ibadan.

The company will also leverage its recent license with Nigeria’s state-owned postal service agency for cross-country courier and logistics services as it expands across the country, it said in a statement.

“The pandemic has enabled us to really test and prove our business model in Lagos and we intend to build on our growth with the launch of our new app,” Goel said.

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