But they have yet to make their mark in Africa. One company that hopes to change this is Gozem.
Launched in 2018 in Togo, West Africa, it started off offering a motorcycle grabber app, but has since added services such as food and grocery delivery, vehicle financing, and a digital wallet. , while expanding to Benin and Gabon.
Based in Singapore, the startup was co-founded by a Nigerian and two Swiss entrepreneurs who saw an untapped market in West Africa. Gozem says her app has been downloaded 800,000 times and that as a rideshare service it has made four million trips with its 2,500 drivers. Its objective is now to make the application indispensable.
“What are we all doing? You move, you use transport, you have to eat every day, you have to make payments. So it’s all these key verticals that we all use in our daily lives that we put in one app. »Says Raphael Dana, co-founder of Gozem.
But Gozem focuses on French-speaking Africa. Dana says developing a super app only makes sense in emerging markets because there is less competition for each service.
“In a developed market, it is impossible to offer something that can do it all in all verticals and all sectors. In Europe, in the United States, there are too many players, ”he says. “Because the Francophone (African) market is totally untapped, we can envision building a strong tech company, creating data, and solving real problems. ”
“We believe South East Asia is the best role model to follow when you want to start a startup in Africa,” says Dana. “You are going to find a lot of similarities in the problems people face.”
Can Africa be next?
Super apps are expected to generate $ 500 billion in revenue by 2025, with growth in Asia and emerging markets like Brazil, according to consulting firm McKinsey & Company.
Anindya Ghose, business professor at NYU and author of “Tap: Unlocking the Mobile Economy”, points out that Africa has a growing number of smartphone owners, as well as startups looking to diversify their application offerings.
However, Ghose says a lack of high-speed internet access could be a barrier to adopting great apps, and monetizing them can be a challenge. Gozem says he will make money from commissions on financing his vehicles, trips and deliveries, as well as transaction fees on payments.
Despite the challenges, Ghose says he can see opportunities, but it remains to be seen who will seize them.
Gozem hopes to launch in Cameroon by the end of the year and in Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire by the end of 2022.