Kenya’s MARAMOJA Launches a Socially Powered taxi app

By Sheilah Birgen
m:lab
  Published 22 Mar 2015
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“Nairobi does not have a taxi market, it has a taxi culture” this is according to Jason Eisen the co-founder of MARAMOJA transport. Nairobi’s taxi culture is built around values like trust, loyalty, and relationships. Finding a ride in Nairobi has never been a problem, it’s about finding a trusted ride, quickly, reliably, and at a fair price. We, Nairobians, want to ride with (and drive for) the people we know and the people we know we can trust. MARAMOJA transport is a Kenyan socially-powered transport app that helps users to find a personally trusted ride with only a few taps on their smartphone. The startup launched their transport app on 7th March at the iHub 5 years celebration which was held at Arboretum. “It has been well established that regional players in the global e-hail (taxi app) market, can strongly outperform their global competitors by being well attuned to the unique market conditions in their region. Ola Cabs has done this in India, GetTaxi in South East Asia, and the “Daches” in China. MARAMOJA is born and built in Kenya, for Kenya; this drives our entire worldview and our socially powered approach to transport”, says Jason. “We think that ten years down the line, you’ll see MARAMOJA Maramoja views their clients and drivers like individuals with their own unique preferences, relationships, and loyalties. Most Kenyans already have their favorite drivers and are only looking for better way to reach them, a reliable network of trusted back-ups, or additional features that can be offered by an app. “We value our clients’ right to make the final choice in who they ride with and present them as many personally trusted options as possible to help them make this choice” says Jason.
Maramoja Transport team during their launch Maramoja Transport team during their launch
Maramoja Transport accepts MPESA and Airtel Money in addition to cash and credit card.They also have a corporate product that allows monthly electronic invoicing. The prices are fixed and based only on trip origin and destination so users pay the same amount every time, rain or shine, day or night, jam or not.You can check the price to your destination from their Pricemap before requesting for a taxi. With competition from firms such as Uber, Sasa Cabs, Rocket Internet’s Easy Taxi, Pewin Cabs among others, Maramoja transport differentiates themselves from their competitors through their social trust model, which Jason notes “marks the beginning of a new era of taxi app and sharing economy in general - one that reflects culture rather than inflaming it. They also go well beyond their relationship-based matching of clients to drivers, with strict credential checking and integration with private security emergency response capabilities. Early last year, Maramoja Transport applied for PIVOT East, East Africa’s premier mobile startups pitching competition and conference which was held on 24th – 25th June at Panari Hotel. The company was selected as one of the finalists in the competition in the utilities category. They emerged the 1st runners up of the competition in the utilities category.The startup was also a semifinalist at the 1776 Nairobi Challenge Cup.
Jason Eisen and Stephen Kimani from Maramoja Transport pitching during PIVOT East 2014 Jason Eisen and Stephen Kimani from Maramoja Transport pitching during PIVOT East 2014
The company has grown over time in terms of the team, with the number of users and drivers growing in the high double digits week on week. The startup received an angel investment last October and will be starting a new round of fundraising very soon. The company has many great partnerships with taxi firms, lifestyle brands, security services, and other tech companies, all Kenyan firms.They will be rolling out all these integrations in the next few months! Maramoja application works across all smartphone platforms as well as from your desktop/laptop. You can download their Android App here. For more information on the company, visit their website, like them on facebook and follow them on twitter @MM_Nrb
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