SENEGALYEEG SAS, a company that operates ride-hailing startup Kai Senegal, has secured a seed investment from Mobility 54 Investment SAS, the corporate venture capital subsidiary of Toyota Tsusho Corporation and CFAO SAS.

The Toyota Tsusho/CFAO collaboration hopes to assist local inventive solutions to the many difficulties that public transportation in West African countries faces, such as poor service quality, insecurity, and traffic congestion, through Mobility 54’s participation.

Kai’s novel business strategy will enable Toyota Tsusho to serve a new type of customer and provide all of its expertise and services to them.

The taxi industry in Senegal is still very traditional and the share of informal taxis (or clandos) went from less than a third in 2000 to more than half of total market today,” Toyota Tsusho said in a statement.

“While existing taxis fleet is quite aged, with generally a lack of a sufficiently transparent fares system, price sensitivity remains high and has prevented premium proposals to attract the growing middle class.

“On the supply side, the vast majority of vehicles are not owned by the drivers themselves, resulting in very challenging oversight capabilities for the owners.”

Mobility 54 plans to use its extensive network in French-speaking West Africa to provide Kai with high-quality products and after-sales services throughout the group’s various brands and its local partners. Finally, because it provides a comprehensive solution for employee mobility, the service will be marketed internally.

Kai was founded in 2018 with the goal of reinventing the ride hailing business in order to address these concerns.

The company is built on three pillars: 1) a fleet management solution that allows private owners and institutional investors to buy and maintain high-quality vehicles, 2) a digital ride hailing app that connects customers with drivers, and 3) a financing scheme that allows private owners and institutional investors to buy cars as an asset and receive a regular interest-bearing payment.

Kai intends to bring a centralized approach to a previously fragmented market, with the goal of renewing the fleet of vehicles to provide a high-quality transportation service at a fair price to both private persons and corporate clients.

The ride hailing software will allow for more efficient pick-ups and transparent pricing, while the finance plan will allow for higher automobile quality and, as a result, greater passenger safety.

Kai believes that human resources will be critical to the company’s success, and he plans to continue investing heavily in the training of his drivers, whether they are employees or partners.

The company now operates in Senegal and plans to expand into other West African countries by the end of 2022.