Nigerian bus sharing platform aims to offer a more comfortable commute

Johnny Enagwolor, managing director of Plentywaka

Plentywaka is a Nigerian bus sharing platform, launched in 2019. Plentywaka buses travel along busy routes in Nigerian cities. Commuters book their seats on a particular bus through the company’s mobile app. Co-founder and managing director Johnny Enagwolor (44) answers our questions.

1. Give us your elevator pitch.

Plentywaka is an innovative tech-driven startup that offers commuters a convenient, safe and comfortable means of transportation. Bus travel has been long overdue for an upgrade as the local buses, used by 9 million Lagosians daily, are highly unreliable and inconvenient. Plentywaka is working to revolutionise the transportation sector and offers bus sharing solutions for private individuals and companies, as well as logistics solutions for small and medium-sized businesses. The company also provides individuals with an opportunity to earn additional income by onboarding their vehicles on the platform. Plentywaka has, to date, completed over 190,000 journeys and recorded over 44,000 app downloads.

2. How did you finance your startup?

The initial funds came from crowdfunding, through Crowdyvest. Opportunities were created for people to sponsor Plentywaka buses along different routes in Lagos, and get a return on investment. We also recently raised $300,000 pre-seed funding from EMFATO, Microtraction and Niche Capital to improve on our technology, people, marketing and expansion to other states in Nigeria.

3. What risks does your business face?

Just like every other business, Plentywaka faces its own risks, which we work at limiting every day. There is the risk of losing market share due to supply not meeting demand. Over 44,000 people have experienced our service, both in Lagos and in Abuja, and as we grow and expand, even more people are calling out for our services. To limit these risks, we have the Plentywaka Vehicle Partnership scheme that gives people the opportunity to register their vehicles on the platform and earn 80,000-150,000 Nigerian naira (about $205 to $386) weekly.

A Plentywaka branded vehicle

4. So far, what has proven to be the most successful form of marketing?

The most successful form of marketing has been referral marketing strategies. With every new route or city we launch, we award free rides to our first-time riders to get them to experience the service before introducing our charges; they in turn refer Plentywaka to others. We also carry out other customer-centric brand and marketing strategies to get new riders and retain our existing customers.

5. Describe your most exciting entrepreneurial moment.

When we hit our first 100,000 rides in just six months of full operations. It was beyond the numbers for me. It was more about the impact we have made in such a short time frame. Every day we get to improve the lives of Nigerians using digital technology to provide comfort, safety, and convenience in their daily commute.

6. Tell us about your biggest mistake.

One of the biggest mistakes was to outsource the development of the first version of the Plentywaka mobile app to a foreign vendor who didn’t understand our vision and needs. This led to various issues and complaints from riders when we initially started. We had to build a fully functional in-house tech team, who understood the problems we are trying to solve, to handle the redesign of the app. Today, there are fewer concerns from riders and we constantly work on improving the app as well as building products that would benefit our customers.