Kenya: Little Sells Sh300m Stake to Indian Financial Tech firm

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Local taxi-hailing firm Little has sold a Sh300 million stake to an Indian Fintech company.

Little’s latest investment adds to Sh1 billion capital injection it has so far received since inception from its parent tech firm Craft Silicon and other unnamed shareholders. Kenya’s biggest telco Safaricom has no stake in Little but it is the firm’s technology and marketing partner.

The investment from India comes in the wake of Little’s quest to streamline its payment system and at the beginning of its foray outside Kenya. Earlier this month the firm launched its services in Uganda and is also set to enter Rwanda in June.

“What is happening is that the transport and auto industry which has been quite dormant, from the disruption point of view, is now ripe for disruption. A lot of new technology is getting into vehicles,” said Craft Silicon founder and chairman Kamal Budhabhatti.

“There are not many players who are integrating payments into the in-car technology. So the latest funding will go to building products in that line. I will also be travelling to the US soon to get some education on how autonomous vehicle technology works,”

Mr Budhabhatti said the firm will be working with some vehicle manufacturers to integrate payments into vehicle dashboards.

Little launched in Kenya in July 2016. Its entry into the local online taxi-hailing space sparked off a price war that pitted it against rivals Uber and Estonian-based Taxify, which responded by slashing their fares. In Kenya, Little’s services are available in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.

The firm is also eyeing Nakuru and Eldoret towns. Little’s expansion outside Kenya comes two years after the firm first announced its plan to venture into Uganda and Nigeria.

Uber, the San Francisco-based taxi e-hailing giant, launched its services in Kampala in June 2016.

Uber rolled out its operations in Lagos in August 2014 while Taxify entered Uganda last year.

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