Forbes has today released its list of the most promising young entrepreneurs in Africa for the year 2018. And, Rapa Thomson Ricky, a 29-year-old co-founder of Uganda's ride-hailing startup, SafeBoda, was on the list.
According to Forbes, Ricky "has been instrumental in growing Safeboda into a large community of over 1,000 riders who have come to embrace technology through the SafeBoda app."
A former security guard at Akamwesi, a student's hostel, Ricky's life turned around the moment he decided to quit and venture into boda-boda riding.
"I joined the boda-boda industry as a rider, and this was like graduating from a degree to Masters," he told Jump in an interview. Adding that "It was a dream job for me as Ricky."
However, he quickly found challenges in the unregulated industry and decided to do his business in a way that challenged the norm. Especially after he lost his friend - a fellow boda-boda rider - to an accident.
"But I found so many challenges; I lost one of my very good friends who died in a Boda accident! I learnt [sic] that both my passengers and I needed to wear helmets. So I took a step and bought a second helmet for my passengers to wear and a much better quality one for myself," Ricky said.
Luckily enough, he met Maxime DIeudonné, now a fellow co-founder, who was working with One Acre Fund in Uganda. Together, they decided to launch SafeBoda.
"I met Max through a friend who I had shared the SafeBoda idea with," Ricky said in the interview.
"When I met Max, he asked me about the industry and I shared my dream of connecting the riders with the customers using a call center but he advised that it would be a better idea to use an app."
Since then, the startup founded in 2015, has grown to become a force to reckon in the East African ride-hailing market. Especially after the recent expansion to the Kenyan market.
According to SafeBoda's CrunchBase profile, the startup has raised north of US $200,000 in funding. Though, it is believed that they have raked in more when you add the grants and other non-disclosed amounts in funding.
In its seventh year, the Forbes "annual ranking of the 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs In Africa features some of the most exceptional young innovators and disruptors in African business today."