Nopea ride is the first electric taxi company to start operations in Kenya in 2018. It is sad to see it exit the market after its parent company EkoRent Oy failed to raise additional funding to keep it afloat.
NopeaRide said EkoRent Africa, the local subsidiary of the Finnish company, has filed for insolvency in Kenya, bringing to an end the operations of the all-electric vehicle taxi player, which failed to drive a shift to environmentally friendly transport options, while stepping-up competition for early market entrants Uber and Bolt.
InfraCo Africa Limited, which is the minority shareholder in NopeaRide's operator EkoRent Africa Limited, has filed for the liquidation of the company at the High court of Kenya with a hearing set for December 13.
"Following the announcement that our majority shareholder, EkoRent Oy, has declared insolvency in Finland, we are sad to announce that InfraCo Africa Limited the minority shareholder has now filed for the liquidation of EkoRent Africa Limited in the High Court of Kenya," NopeaRide said in a statement on its website.
NopeaRide said they have taken their fleet of electric vehicles off the road and have notified their staff and corporate clients. They are working with authorities to ensure their operations are wound up in accordance with the laws of the country. The company expressed its deepest regrets to its team of staff and drivers. They also thanked their loyal customers, corporate clients, and other partners who have supported NopeaRide’s vision for electric mobility in Africa.
Juha Suojanen founded EkoRent Oy in 2014 to develop solutions based on electric vehicles, and solar energy, which later led to the 2018 launch of NopeaRide in Kenya.
NopeaRide provided the charging network and the driver and rider apps and sourced the electric vehicles. However, the drivers were expected to arrange their own financing frameworks.
The company started with three vehicles and grew to 70 by the time of closure. It had built several charge stations including Thika Road Mall, Two Rivers, The Hub, JKIA, and Strathmore University (solar charger)
Last year, NopeaRide received €200,000 in funding, a fraction of what it was raising, from EEP Africa, a financing facility for early-stage clean energy in Southern and East Africa, to build more solar charging hubs in Nairobi, and increase its service radius in anticipation of growth.
The startup had hoped to recover this year after the business was highly affected by the COVID pandemic due to most people working from home.
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 the office and managed to sign contracts with a few big international companies, some of them potentially reserving the majority of available Nopea capacity.
However, EkoRent OY went into insolvency in Finland and was unable to secure additional financing to grow the business in Nairobi to the next level.