Little, Kenya's leading super-app platform has finalised plans to expand services to the Ethiopian market as the company seeks to stamp its authority in the continent.
This will be the fifth country after Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, and Tanzania where the company operates. The Ethiopian market has massive opportunities for growth, owing to its over 112 million population.
"Ethiopia has always been in our sight. However we have always been very cautious to get in there because of the nature of business," said Mr Kamal Budhabhatti, Little Chief Executive Officer.
"When we saw Safaricom heading to Ethiopia, we got the courage to get there. It is a large market and we see an opportunity to extend our services there," he added.
Under the new strategy, the company will start with Ride-hailing services in Addis Ababa. It has several corporates lined up to pick up its services. The company hopes to start food delivery and financial services in Ethiopia before the end of the year.
The expansion plan into one of Africa’s populous countries has been on the company's to-do list for a long time. Covid-19 pandemic, which has slowed businesses across the globe since March 2020, delayed the dream.
The company said it will start with 2,000 drivers with a focus on scaling up the number to 10,000 in three months. Little plans to invest about 5 million USD in the next five years, with a provision to inject an additional 5 million USD based on the growth projections.
Mr. Budhabhatti exuded confidence that the company will be a significant player in the new market.
“We have some great Ethiopian partners. We felt that it is a very large market, and for us to succeed there, we need to work closely with Ethiopian companies who would bring a wealth of local and cultural knowledge. We have always understood the power of localization of our products.”
“Having local Ethiopian partners would help us to ensure that the product is customised to meet the local needs of Ethiopians."
Currently, Little controls Kenya’s market share in corporate clients with around 100,000 drivers on the platform.
The company has been adding products and services to its app over the past few months. Through the application, one can access the delivery services, transport, doctor’s services, corporate services, and the wallet which enables one to send money, buy airtime, pay bills among other functions. Little has close to a million registered customers on the platform in Kenya.