A Kenyan based startup, Magic Bus Ticketing, has emerged the winner of Hult Prize 2016. The
transport startup was crowned overall winner with $1 million in seed capital after competing against five other finalists selected from over 20 000 applicants around the world.
Dubbed as the “Uber of Buses, but offline,” this convenient app allows commuters to check in real-time the location and cost of their bus, as well as booking and paying for seats. Its USSD application can be accessed from any phone, with the startup looking to address the long waiting times and overcharging that commuters in Kenya face on a daily basis.
“We decided to focus our startup on how to optimise public transport in Africa to ensure greater access to social services such as jobs, education, and healthcare. We think of the current chaos in the public bus transport in Africa as a logistics problem. There is a mismatch between the supply of buses and the demand from commuters. We believe that technology can be a tool to bridge this gap,” explains Leslie Ossete, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
The Hult prize is known as the world’s largest student competition which focuses social good. The prize is a collaborative effort between Hult International Business School and the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) to bring students’ ideas to reality and awarding the winning student team with $1 Million in seed capital to launch their ideas as a social enterprise. Over the years, winners have emerged from Cambridge University, McGill University, Indian School of Business etc.
The team from Magic Bus Ticketing is made up of four students from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana.
“We have had successful results so far, with more than 2,000 unique users and more than 5,000 bus tickets booked through Magic Bus Ticketing. By the end of 2018, we hope to expand our services to the rest of East Africa, where market conditions are similar to those in Kenya,” she said.
She further adds, ““We got continuous feedback to iterate our business model, and design a solution that is not only feasible, but viable and scalable. The team at Hult has been helpful throughout, connecting us to their network of influencers in the field of social entrepreneurship.
I personally am grateful for all the hard work the Hult foundation puts to launch the next successful social enterprises.”
Congratulations to the team!