GOKADA, Nigeria’s on-demand bike-hailing startup has secured $5.3 million in a Series A funding led by  Rise Capital, a venture capital firm with interest in tech-driven startups in emerging markets. The round is intended to support the company’s vision as it seeks to expand its operations and push for growth.

GOKADA will deploy its new investment to expand its driver fleet with the goal of increasing daily rides by 10 fold. So far, the company has acquired approximately 1,000 motorcycles and nearly one million rides since inception. The new funding will increase the company’s growth potential.

The company also plans to explore new verticals for business growth, as well as acquire local tech talent. Since launching in 2018, Gokada has been operating with trained, insured and verified drivers. Its recommitment to acquire more local tech talent will reduce the unemployed market and, encourage Nigeria’s participation in the tech-driven evolution.

In a release made available to Ventures Africa on May 24, 2019, GOKADA reiterates its quest to dominate Nigeria’s estimated Billion Dollar motorcycle transport market. Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Gokada, Fahim Saleh, boasts that Gokada motorcycles have become a regular feature of Lagos’ roads in the 14 months of operations.

“Gokada was built with the intention of becoming the future of two-wheel transport in West Africa, and we are fast becoming the go-to platform to hail a motorcycle ride in Lagos. Today’s announcement allows us to accelerate our growth projections significantly, as we continue to grow our market share and look to introduce more product features and services, Fahim Saleh said.”

The funding round also included Adventure Capital, First Midwest Group, IC Global Partners and several local investors. Pioneered by Rise Capital director Ayodeji Adewunmi, former CEO of recruitment website Jobberman, the new investment accompanies his entry into GOKADA management team as co-CEO of the company, joining Fahim Saleh.

“It is an incredible time to be joining Gokada on this journey to transform transportation in Nigeria and the rest of Africa. I am truly excited about the promise of Gokada becoming the operating system of how cities function optimally and efficiently across Africa. There is no doubt in my mind that this will become one of the most important companies in Africa, Ayodeji Adewunmi.”

This move had become necessary for the motorcycle transport company given it has been struggling with a host of negative issues in recent months.

From regulatory issues which led to the seizure of some of its bikes by the Lagos State Government, to allegations of mismanagement against the company’s former CEO, the startup has gone through a lot recently.

The announcement follows the launch of its Rapid Response Medic (G-medics), aimed at providing first aid service to riders and passengers on the event of accidents. Based in heavily-congested Lagos, Gokada provides quick, safe and reliable transport to ease lifestyle for Lagosians. Although regular okadas have been deemed as largely unreliable and unregulated, the ever-busy roads pose risks of accidents for all transports. However, Gokada’s M-medic insures riders’ safety.

Gokada is committed to driver empowerment; ensuring drivers benefit from health insurance, access to loans as well as the opportunity to own their motorcycles after a year of employment. With this funding, the company will be able to provide more value-added benefits to its driver fleet.

Nazar Yasin, Founder and Managing Partner at Rise Capital asserts that Gokada’s rapid entry into Lagos’ transport market has been transformative. He said that they are reshaping the tech-enabled transport market in Lagos, and his company is excited to be partnering with them as they scale.

“We have noticed that some markets like Nigeria and Indonesia, which both have large populations and inadequate road infrastructure, are more likely to be dominated by motorcycle-hailing companies rather than traditional car-hailing players, and Gokada’s relentless focus on product, customer service, and safety has enabled them to take advantage of this dynamic and produce some truly impressive growth metrics.”

Gokada is an on-demand transportation company headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria. Customers can order a motorbike ride through the company’s website, or by using the company’s geo-location-based smartphone Gokada mobile app. The company recently celebrated its first year in business with the launch of its brand new office in Ilupeju, Lagos set to house a state-of-the-art Driver Training School to train and verify up to 500 drivers at a time.