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Tech start-up WhereIsMyTransport gets R42m Naspers funding

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 07 Jun 2021
Devin de Vries, WhereIsMyTransport CEO and co-founder.
Devin de Vries, WhereIsMyTransport CEO and co-founder.

Naspers has invested $3 million (R42 million) in Cape Town-founded mobility technology start-up WhereIsMyTransport, through its early-stage tech investment vehicle.

The investment is part of a R201 million ($14.5 million) funding round led by Naspers Foundry, Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund and SBI Investment.

Naspers in 2018 pledged its commitment to a start-up fund to boost the South African technology sector. The initiative – called Naspers Foundry – was announced at the inaugural South Africa Investment Conference 2018 in Johannesburg, and aims to fund and support South African technology start-ups seeking to address big societal needs.

In an interview with ITWeb, Fabian Whate, head of Naspers Foundry, says WhereIsMyTransport is a mobility technology company that maps formal and informal public transport networks and uses this data and technology to improve the public transport experience, making the public commute more reliable, predictable, safe, inclusive and accessible for millions of people in highly populated megacities.

The start-up licenses these mobility datasets to governments, development finance institutions, NGOs, operators and third-party solution developers for the purpose of research, analytics, insights, and consumer and enterprise solutions.

“We offer complete network data from the dynamic public transport environments of emerging-market megacities. Our mobility data includes every mode of public transport, of every operational style,” says Devin de Vries, WhereIsMyTransport CEO and co-founder.

WhereIsMyTransport’s aim is to develop solutions that provide commuters in Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Latin America with real-time public transport network alerts, to improve their mobility and reduce the time they spend commuting.

In South Africa, WhereIsMyTransport’s clients include, among others, Johannesburg commuter rail system Gautrain and Transport for Cape Town, and as part of its international client base Google and the World Bank, along with others.

Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, South Africa CEO of Naspers, says: “Mobility remains an obstacle for billions of people in high-growth markets across the world. Our investment in WhereIsMyTransport is testimony of our belief that great innovation and tech talent is found in South Africa, and with the right backing and support, these businesses can provide solutions to local challenges that can improve the lives of ordinary people in South Africa and abroad.”

“WhereIsMyTransport has a strong track record of developing best-in-class technology in improving the daily commutes of people across the world,” notes Whate.

“The mobility technology company is a great addition to the Naspers Foundry investment portfolio and we look forward to working with the WhereIsMyTransport team as they take their business to the next level.”

Says De Vries: “WhereIsMyTransport started in South Africa, focused on becoming a central source of accurate and reliable public transport data for high-growth markets. We’re thrilled to welcome Naspers as an investor as our journey continues in megacities across the world.”

Meanwhile, the mobility technology company has reached an important milestone by launching its first consumer product, Rumbo, in Latin America.

According to the company, Rumbo is the first to provide network information from all modes of public transport in this market and has over 100 000 users and delivered over 750 000 real-time network alerts since its launch in Mexico City in November 2020.

The app will be launched in Lima, Peru, later this year.