NopeaRide, the first fully-electric taxi company that has been in operation since 2018 is folding up its business in Kenya, after failing to raise additional funding to keep it afloat.
The Kenyan company owned by Finland-based EkoRent Africa has filed for insolvency stating that it is in the process of legalizing the process.
“We would like to extend our deepest regret to our dedicated team of staff and drivers. We would also like to thank our loyal NopeaRide customers, corporate clients and other partners who have supported NopeaRide’s vision for electric mobility in Africa,” the company said in a statement.
The startup had a unique operating model which ensured that its fleet remained fully electric. After starting off with only three vehicles, the fleet grew to 70 vehicles by the time of winding up.
The company built a network of charging infrastructure as well as the operating app and sourced the electric vehicles, but drivers were responsible for their financing framework.
NopeaRide’s model failed to remain profitable in a highly competitive environment dominated by Bolt, Uber, Little Cab and other local and foreign players. This development also comes at a time when the industry is undergoing regulatory changes, aimed at making the environment profitable for drivers and car owners.
Earlier this year, the firm said it was on a path to recovery, exhibiting optimism that business would pick up after being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the first half of 2022, our traffic numbers grew to about the same level as before Covid-19. We also started to put more effort in the corporate segment as their employees were returning to office and managed to sign contracts with a few big international companies, some of them potentially reserving the majority of available Nopea capacity,”
The parent company, EkoRent OY went into insolvency in Finland, leading to a financial crunch that affected its Kenyan operations.