In a significant boost to South Africa’s burgeoning tech scene, GoMetro, a local tech company operating in the fleet management space, has successfully raised £9 million (approximately R211.4 million) in a Series A funding round. The funding was led by Zenobē Energy, a renowned strategic investor with a focus on financing and operating electric buses. Zenobē Energy is well-known for its involvement in large-scale battery projects for wind farms, counting the U.K.’s National Grid among its valued customers.
Zenobē Energy’s lead investment in GoMetro stems from a recognition of the pivotal role that robust data quality plays in driving financing in the evolving landscape of fleet management. Zenobē Energy, known for its electric transport-as-a-service model, aims to enhance its capabilities and services by collaborating with GoMetro. The synergy between Zenobē Energy’s electric transport focus and GoMetro’s logistics optimization software, particularly its flagship product Bridge, is expected to provide a comprehensive solution to Zenobē Energy’s extensive customer base.
Joining Zenobē Energy in the funding round are notable investors, including Futuregrowth, ESquared Ventures, Kalon Venture Partners, and angel investor Greg Fury. Existing investors such as 4 Decades Capital, Hlayisani Capital, and Tritech Global have also participated in this funding round. The diverse group of investors reflects the confidence in GoMetro’s potential and the growth prospects of its innovative fleet management solutions.
Founded by civil engineer Justin Coetzee, GoMetro has come a long way since its inception. Coetzee identified the inadequacy of available data in South Africa for designing transportation networks during the construction of bus and train systems for the 2010 World Cup. This realization led to the creation of GoMetro, initially in the form of a chatbot providing train arrival times. The company has since evolved into a key player in fleet management technology.
“During that time, I learned a lot about transportation, technology, data, and what would happen if you could bring mobile phones, the internet, connectivity, and the cloud to transport systems. And that’s ultimately the genesis of the business. My train was late. So I built an app that would tell me when it was coming,” said Coetzee.
GoMetro’s journey expanded from buses and minibus taxis in South Africa to tracking solutions and fleet management solutions for trucks, especially during the challenges posed by the pandemic. A strategic move into the electric vehicle (EV) category significantly contributed to GoMetro’s business growth.
At the core of GoMetro’s offerings is Bridge, a SaaS fleet management technology platform. Bridge functions as a telemetry and data aggregator, consolidating relevant data from vehicles of various makes and models into a unified platform. This versatility ensures that fleet managers can access and analyze data without being constrained by the disparate telematics systems associated with different OEMs.
Coetzee emphasizes that what sets GoMetro apart from other platforms is its ability to activate any telematics unit, not limited to the client’s own, and consolidate all fleets and subcontracting assets into a unified virtual cloud. This approach, coupled with GoMetro’s ETA algorithms, helps identify operational bottlenecks, notify fleet operators of deviations, and ensure prompt attention to any delays or issues.
As the transportation sector undergoes a significant shift toward electric vehicles (EVs), GoMetro aims to lead the way in pioneering OEM-agnostic electric vehicle telematics. The company already manages and finances about 25% of the entire electric bus fleet in the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. In the U.K., where most of its revenue comes from specializing in electric vehicle and bus management, GoMetro’s telematics tailored for electric buses address the shortcomings of legacy technologies designed for diesel engines.
“The biggest change in the transportation sector is the switch to EVs across the spectrum. And so we think there’s an incredible opportunity for us to build groundbreaking leap-frogging tech that helps manage electric buses and trucks better,” said Coetzee.
Over the past 12 months, GoMetro has experienced a doubling in revenue, reflecting the success of its innovative solutions in the market. While specific details about the revenue were not disclosed, Coetzee reveals that the company’s next target is to triple its current revenue by the end of the next year. To achieve this, GoMetro plans to integrate more than 2,000 electric vehicles and 50,000 diesel vehicles onto its platform in the coming year.
Buoyed by the Series A funding, GoMetro is set to solidify its operations in the U.K., Europe, and South Africa. Additionally, the company has ambitious plans for global expansion, targeting the U.S., Latin America, and Australia, markets where Zenobē Energy already has a presence. Coetzee also mentioned the company’s interest in the Middle East, particularly Dubai and Saudi Arabia, citing similar challenges and problems in fleet management that exist in those markets.
“We are excited that African technology’s been globally recognized; a market leader in a city like London, which is famous for its public transport systems and excellence, has partnered with a technology business out of Cape Town. And I think that just validates the talent and the hunger that African technology companies have to tackle global problems and make global impacts,” said Coetzee.
The Series A funding will play a crucial role in GoMetro’s expansion plans. The company intends to use the funding to grow its engineering teams, distribution and partner management teams, and invest in advancing electric bus and truck management. GoMetro’s collaboration with vehicle OEMs aims to bring its expertise in data management, data aggregation, and vehicle clouds to support them at a factory level.
GoMetro’s success in securing significant funding and expanding its footprint globally highlights the prowess of African technology on the global stage. The partnership with Zenobē Energy, a leader in the electric transport sector, reinforces the potential of African tech companies to address and solve global challenges. As GoMetro continues to innovate and grow, it serves as an inspiring example of the impact that African technology can have on a global scale.