Kenyan Bus Management Startup Data Integrated Secures Funding Via Bond Issuance From Toyota Tsusho

Kenya's Data Integrated Limited tackles the first mile in financial  inclusion | by MEST Africa | Medium

Toyota Tsusho has invested in “Data Integrated,” a startup that develops and provides operation management systems for bus operators in Kenya. The company collects bus location information in real time and provides it to businesses and passengers. Toyota Tsusho will support the digitization of bus traffic in Kenya, where it is difficult to understand the operation status.

“We are very happy to welcome mobility54 a Toyota group of companies as an investor and partner,” said CEO and founder, Data Integrated, Mary Mwangi.

Here Is What You Need To Know

  • Toyota purchased Data Integrated’s convertible bonds (convertible bonds = CB) through its subsidiary CFAO, a French trading company, and Mobility 54, an investment company established in 2019. The amount has not been announced.
  • With this investment, one part-time director has been dispatched to Data Integrated.

Why The Investor Invested

Toyota Tsusho is actively investing in transportation IT in Africa, such as investing in “Tugende”, a motorcycle leasing business in September. The investor’s policy is to comprehensively link businesses with the services of the investees. For example, Tugende will financially support those who want to start a bus business in Kenya, and Data Integrated will provide consistent support for the operation management system after starting a business.

Read also: Cape Town-Based Insurance Platform Receives Multi-Million Rand Investment

A Look At What The Startup Does

The journey so far: Mary Mwangi, CEO, Data Integrated

Founded in 2012 by Mary Mwangi, Data Integrated allows bus operators to keep track of bus operation information and the number of passengers, making it easier to manage profits. The company also handles cashless fare payments, and provides passengers with an app that allows them to search, book and pay for buses.

Many Kenyan bus operators are sole proprietors and hire drivers and staff to handle the operation. Since the destination and fare of the bus change daily at the discretion of the staff, the operator cannot accurately grasp the destination, and the problem is that the fare and operation status are unclear for passengers.

“We have been able to streamline revenue management in public transport, thus sealing cash leakages, loopholes and allowing for transparency and efficiency in how the business is run,” Mwangi said in an interview.

“Matatu Owners and the Savings and Credit Co-operative Organisations have reported that our system has increased their revenue up to 40%. This gives us the motivation to work more on the solutions,” she added.

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Convertible Bonds

Convertible bond have been issued and traded since 1880s.

A convertible bond is a bond that can converted into a predetermined amount of the company’s equity at certain times during its life, usually at the discretion of the bondholder.

Convertible bonds, or converts, give the holder the option to exchange the bond for a predetermined number of shares in the issuing company.

Raising Funds Through Convertible Bonds

Funds can be raised by companies through convertible bonds. A convertible bond is a form of borrowing by a company in which the borrowing company pays the lender fixed amount of interests or dividends until the borrowed amount is due for repayment. It is convertible because both the dividends/interests and the total amount borrowed can be converted into common stock or equity shares in the company, in this case Data Integrated. This conversion from the bond to stock happens at specified times during the life of the bond and is usually at the discretion of the bondholder, in this case Toyota Tsusho. 

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