About the company
LEFA company was established by a team of tech-minded idealists. They believe disrupting the local mobility industry by using state-of-art technologies can make Namibia a better place for everyone. Creating new workplaces with their app is one side of the issue, another one is to keep the roads safer by ensuring less drunk driving incidents.
The company’s founder, Melkisedek-Shivute Ausiku, acknowledges Namibia’s reputation of a knowledge-based society he and his team were able to build upon. The market was waiting eagerly for a startup like LEFA. Despite a modest initial capital, the app’s launch was a success.
Melkisedek shares his insights on what’s important for his clients and employees. “The app gives people exactly the safety they seek. With the app powered by the Onde all-in-one solution, customers see the driver’s profile, the ratings, and know the car will arrive precisely on time. There’s an SOS button for in case of an emergency. We operate cashlessly, this means, no need to carry cash — which is important for our drives to feel secure. And the fares you get before completing a booking are always transparent. This is just what people were waiting for.”
The challenges of a small local startup
Providing taxi and transfer services in Windhoek and its surroundings, LEFA faces challenges that are no doubt universal for all daring tech startups.
Disruption — creative process needing nourishing environment
Yet another challenge for LEFA was recruiting reliable drivers in a strict regulatory climate. Following the local regulations for the taxi business, an individual who’d like to earn some extra money driving part-time would need to spend at least 6 months getting all the papers. This is a huge hiring barrier for LEFA. Working with already registered shuttle drivers is a temporary solution to this problem.
However, LEFA acknowledges the need for the Namibian government to prune down rigid legislative requirements to facilitate startups changing things in the economy. Melkisedek explains: “High tech can truly reshape the Namibian economy. We have all the chances to become a tech-driven nation, and LEFA is very into seizing these chances. Despite ambitious Development Plans, there’s still a lot of space for improvement in the country when it comes to supporting and facilitating small local businesses. LEFA now provides help to other aspiring entrepreneurs and participates in partnerships for helping local small and medium businesses in transportation.”
Making funds accessible for small businesses
Yet another major issue is attracting funds needed for further growth.
The company is actively lobbying for more investment opportunities for small local businesses. While LEFA ride-hailing app is a success and it generates real money, its future is still very much dependent on drawing investments with realistic expectations.
Solving this problem is not a personal issue for LEFA, the team believes more access to business loans will help Namibia advance as an attractive place to start a business.
Active lobbying begins with networking
Raising social and governmental awareness for the issues small local businesses encounter on their way to success is extremely important for LEFA. The company sees itself as an ambassador for quicker development and enhancing the business climate in Namibia.
Active networking and participation in industry events are a good strategy here. Taking part in events like Viva Technology (France), Economic Growth summit (Windhoek), and Ride.Right.Now (unique ride-hailing networking event by Onde in Minsk, Belarus), LEFA manages to get more publicity for the challenges young daring startups face.
Ride-hailing events and conferences for investors are a perfect place for aspiring entrepreneurs to learn from others’ experiences, get inspired, and build up a strong network of like-minded people to rely on.
Dream big, work hard and make the future of mobility happen
LEFA’s long-run planning is ambitious: they want to expand their transportation network and replicate it in other markets in need of reliable mobility solutions. Angola, Zimbabwe, Botswana are at the top of LEFA’s list.
Helping other local businesses to overcome the difficulties of starting up is another important mission for the company. Turns out, when you work hard, no dream is too big. Just make sure you find the right people to help you. And the technical solution you can trust upon.