NextNow, an African e-hailing company that aims to put the continent on the ride-sharing map, has launched its services in Johannesburg.

Mlungisi Ntombela, head of operations: South Africa at NextNow, explains that the homegrown e-hailing service’s competitive pricing aims to be more affordable than its rivals.

NextNow is launching the following options with its e-hailing service, with clients having the option to pay cash or credit card:

* NextGo – an entry-level service for cost conscious customers where small and hatchback vehicles are used.

* NextRide – an affordable service that makes use of entry-level sedans.

* NextPro and NextPro Woman – this service features luxury sedans with male or female drivers.

* NextWoman – a service for women that is safe and secure and makes use of sedans.

The company has taken a number of measures to improve security. A one-time PIN (OTP) is sent to the customer that needs to be verified by the driver. This ensures that the driver is authenticated and legitimate. .

There are also stringent verification processes in place before drivers are enlisted, and there’s an option for female customers to request a female driver.

Vehicles are verified and inspected to ensure they are roadworthy and meet company standards, and there’s 24-hour support available for customers.

“Our strong point is that we are more affordable than other international e-hailing services and we can do this by being smaller and leaner,” says Ntombela. “We are aware of the unemployment challenge that the country is facing and realise that in the post-pandemic economy, we can make a huge difference in the lives of cash-strapped customers, as well as our drivers.”

Ntombela adds that, following a soft launch, the company has chosen Africa Month – celebrated in May – to officially enter the market and tie its identity as a digital platform enabler in furthering the developmental goals of Africa.

NextNow is backed by a consortium of African businesspeople from a number of countries across the continent.

Business development director Babatunde Orimoloye says the company plans to be part of the push to help move Africa beyond being a natural resources continent to one that is adopting the Fourth Industrial Revolution. “As with many other African ‘children’, NextNow will be raised in South Africa before expanding into the rest of the continent. We are launching in Johannesburg and Tshwane before expanding to Cape Town and then Durban, followed by the rest of the country.”