NextNow, a world-class African e-hailing company that aims to firmly put the continent on the ride-sharing map, officially launched its services in Johannesburg on 10 May 2021.
“As every other mobility solution provider across the world is securing its own continent, Africa is not going to be left behind. Next is Africa and Now is Africa,” says Head of Operations South Africa, Mlungisi Ntombela.
He explains that the homegrown e-hailing service’s competitive pricing will set it apart from established international competitors in the market. It aims to be more affordable than its rival competition.
NextNow is launching the following options with its e-hailing service where clients have the option to pay cash or with their credit card:
- NextGo – an entry-level service for cost conscious customers where small and hatchback vehicles are used.
- NextRide – an affordable service that makes use of entry level sedans.
- NextPro and NextPro Woman – this service features luxury sedans with male or female drivers.
- NextWoman – a service for women that is safe and secure and makes use of sedans.
Safety is an uppermost issue for NextNow and the company has taken a number of measures. Firstly, a One Time Pin (OTP) is sent to the customer that needs to be verified by the driver. This ensures that the driver is authenticated and legitimate. We also have stringent verification processes in place before we enlist our drivers and provide 24 hours support assistance to our customers. An important aspect of safety is we understand that female customers may feel more comfortable with a female driver and as such, we have a service that is gender specific. Furthermore, our vehicles are verified and inspected to ensure they are roadworthy and meet our standards.
“Our strong point is that we are more affordable than other international e-hailing services and we can do this by being smaller and leaner. We are aware of the unemployment challenge that the country is facing and realise that in the post-pandemic economy, we can make a huge difference in the lives of cash-strapped customers, as well as our drivers,” says Ntombela.
Mr Ntombela further says, “Not only will drivers be able to earn higher margins than those offered by our international competitors, but we also care about the financial wellbeing of our drivers. We aim for professionalism and transformation in the on-demand and ride sharing industry and working hard to ensure we are investing in drivers and assisting them in making a decent living and building sustainable businesses. We are making it accessible for our drivers to have all the necessary skills to assist them to manage their income and further increase their chances of running a successful business.
In this new age of on-demand and click of a button to make a ride request, our drivers are our last mile heroes. NextNow is intervening as a domestic brand with a world-class technology poised to ensure that the challenges of drivers should not be compounded with high commissions. We want to alleviate this by charging lower commissions as compared with the other platform providers in the industry. This will assist the drivers to earn better income as South Africa economy recovers.
We are not only going to professionalise the biggest stakeholder in this industry i.e. the drivers and hopefully transform the e-hailing industry but also to establish security, safety and trust amongst Riders and Drivers
Ntombela adds that, following a soft launch, the company has chosen Africa Month – celebrated in May – to officially enter the market and tie its identity as a digital platform enabler in furthering the developmental goals of Africa.
NextNow is backed by a consortium of African businesspeople from a number of countries across the continent and has ambitions of becoming a world-class African platform company that is building an African Mobility Solution for the world.
NextNow Business Development Director Babatunde Orimoloye says the company plans to be part of the push to help move Africa beyond being a natural resources continent to one that is adopting the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The company will use this experience to launch in other African countries.
“As with many other African ‘children’, NextNow will be raised in South Africa before expanding into the rest of the continent. We are launching in Johannesburg and Tshwane before expanding to Cape Town and then Durban, followed by the rest of the country,” Orimoloye says.
Orimoloye explains that once the service has been established across most of South Africa and this market has been fully developed, it will use this experience to launch in other African countries.
The Purple Brand
“At the moment, we are focusing on building momentum in the South African market and want to ensure that we are well-established and positioned in the city of Gold. But the ultimate goal is to put Africa on the global mobility solutions map.”
Orimoloye adds that as the “Purple Brand” in the domestic e-hailing market, NextNow aims to paint the continent purple and hopes to inspire other African youths that the African technology dreams are possible.
“We find ourselves in a post-pandemic landscape where there is a strong drive towards economic recovery. We see an opportunity to roll out our ride-sharing platform as part of the move towards digital transformation, which is ushering in more digital services and the sharing of assets,” says Orimoloye.