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Meet the founder: Habtamu Tadesse from ZayRide, Ethiopian


We are happy to introduce to you today Habtamu Tadesse, C.E.O. of ZayRide, a taxi haling platform start-up from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

  1. First of all, can you introduce yourself to our readers, who you are, where you come from and what’s your background.

My name is Habtamu Tadesse. I was born in Ethiopia and moved to the United States at the age of 12, where I completed high school and university. I graduated in economics at the university of Massachusetts-Boston. I moved back to Ethiopia in 2016 to start a tech company focusing on transportation and financial sector.

  1. What is your startup and where is it located?

My startup is ZayRide, Ethiopian taxi haling platform currently addressing citizens residing in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

  1. What is the problem you are addressing and what is your solution?

We are trying to address the existing unsafe, expensive and inconvenience means of transportation by rolling out innovative taxi hailing application that is designed to work on Africa’s slow Internet.

  1. What is your target market? And the market size?

Ethiopia is a forgotten market with market size of 110M. Currently we are in the capital city with market size of 2M people out of 7M people residing in the city. We target lower and middle-income customers whom can afford our service but did not take advantage of it due to safety concerns.

  1. How has the traction been so far on the customer side?

Traction has been nothing but positive. We are able to get more than 30k + customers without proper advertising campaign. We are in the process of launching the service in Ghana. Demand is becoming bigger than supply. We need more cars on the street to satisfy the current demand.

  1. From the investment perspective, where are you at now?

We just closed our seed investment round a few weeks ago. We plan to storm the market with the new investment injection, as well as diversify our services and products designed for financial inclusion and sustainable economic growth. Our aim is to introduce a tech solution that increases productivity.

  1. What is your view about the startup scene in your countries and more regionally in Africa?

The start-up scene is not as big as Kenya or South Africa due to lack of access to capital and start-up unfriendly regulations. One of the biggest problems in Ethiopia is that Idea cannot be financed specially if the product is not tangible. I expect this to change in the coming new months since we have a new prime minister in place who believes that technology is the key to lift Ethiopia out of poverty.

  1. Can you share with us another startup in your country, that you find interesting, either from a product perspective, vision or its founder?

ArifPay, Ethiopian mobile point of sale system, Text based information center for farmers and  e-commerce.

Thanks again for your time and let’s catchup in a few months to follow up on your milestones and development!


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