LÜLA: Story, Founders, Investors & Funding Rounds

The startup began life as a side project in 2014 when co-founders Velani Mboweni and Xabiso Nodada were students at the University of Cape Town, becoming a legal entity in 2016 to make transport accessible, convenient, and safe for people in emerging markets by using big data, mobile ticketing, and shared infrastructure.

While taking part in the Startupbootcamp AfriTech accelerator in Cape Town, LÜLA settled on its current model of connecting corporate commuters with private shuttles, to save them money and free up time. Essentially, it is an alternative to the likes of Uber and Taxify.

The startup makes money through single trips and subscriptions, whereby users purchase weekly and monthly passes for trips, and also charges operators a commission on trips taken.

For decades, both South Africa’s urban and rural populations grew almost in parallel, with the rural population being slightly larger than the urban. 

This changed when urban dwellers became the majority, resulting in rapid population growth in South Africa’s cities. This means that the mobility and accessibility needs of commuters have increased over the years as businesses in cities and towns alike grow at a rapid rate.

This results in employees constantly being faced with commuting woes and frustrations as they will often struggle with unreliable public transport and hours of sitting in traffic. 

This, in turn, leads to productivity issues in your company. Whether your employees are taking the bus or relying on their car to arrive to work safely, you could eliminate many transport-related problems simply by offering your employees a reliable transport system like LÜLA.

In a company of around 200 employees, using LÜLA will remove around 100 cars on the road daily. This will not only help the environmental ecosystem but will also improve the mobility of the city.

Additionally, LÜLA aims to save commuters time and money and allows them to request, track and pay for rides. It provides its solutions to individuals as well as corporates themselves, who want to shuttle their staff to work and back on a scheduled basis.

 Cape Town corporations using its shuttle service for employees include Aurecon, V&A Waterfront, RCS, and Old Mutual.

LÜLA is also on a mission to harness the growth of Africa by providing a safe, sustainable, convenient, and affordable transport system to move around the continent, and its vision is global and connected to the unique challenges of the final frontier market of Africa centered on a #ZeroCarbonFuture.

Every day, commuters, companies, and communities in Africa choose LÜLA as the way to move across the city. Every day, the company chooses a sustainable, productive, and convenient future.

How it Works


LÜLA is a scheduled ride-sharing service with crowdsourced routes, to provide efficient and reliable transportation alternatives to your employees with the touch of a button.

No matter the size of your workforce, the company’s flexible mobility solutions will assist in eliminating commuting worries, maximizing productivity, and increasing your bottom line, and they prioritize your employees’ productivity by making their daily commute to and from work more enjoyable, and stress-free.


When using public transportation like a taxi or bus, you generally need to arrive at the rank 1–2 hours before your appointment, to ensure you can get there on time. 

This often results in morning fatigue and low productivity levels during the most important hours of the day. There are also no set routes, maps, or timetables to reference. This means that employees can never be 100% certain if they will make it to work on time as it’s always touch-and-go.

LÜLA, however, is designed to ease the stress and put the safety of riders and drivers first. With the ridesharing system, pickups and drop-offs are door-to-door. 

Your employees can wait for their LÜLA in the comfort of their home or office building, which means no long queues or having to wake up super early only to go wait in line. They get to enjoy a stress-free daily commute.


Whether you’re a startup or a listed corporation, LÜLA provides shared rides and private charters for companies who seek to move in a sustainable, productive, and convenient manner.


Whether you’re an NGO traveling out of town or a sports team en route to victory, LÜLA is your mobility partner for the occasion. Premium rides. Shared rides. Clean rides. Anywhere, Anytime.

Schools & Universities

Whether it is a group outing, sports event, or rides between student housing, LÜLA is there to enable schools and parents to avoid the morning rush and cost of owning vehicles.

Safety of Ride Sharing

Your employees will ride safely with their colleagues and an LÜLA -verified driver. Pickups and drop-offs are door-to-door, meaning your employees can wait for their LÜLA in the comfort of their home or office building.


Velani Mboweni

velani mboweni

Velani Mboweni is the CEO & Co-Founder of LÜLA.

Within LÜLA he has partnered with Busmark and the Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) to build the iBus – Africa’s first fully integrated and intelligent bus that comes in a hydrogen, electric, or diesel drivetrain made of 97% local materials.

He has worked in South Africa and the United States of America across industries including financial services, chemicals, payments, and the social sector. 

Velani also co-founded the social venture, Phambili Mzansi to connect young and old with resources and a network to solve Africa’s pertinent issues.

Furthermore, he is a 2014 Alumni of the South Africa-Washington International Program and as one of the world’s top entrepreneurs under 25, Velani is a Global Fellow at The Kairos Society (San Francisco, CA), and his interests lie in technology, transport, IoT and social entrepreneurship.

Additionally, Velani holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Philosophy, Politics & Economics from the University of Cape Town and a PDBA from Wits Business School. 

As of 2017, he serves as the Commissioner for HR, Science, Technology & Innovation at the African Youth Commission.

Xabiso Nodada

Xabiso Nodada

Xabiso Nodada is the Co-Founder and Head Of Product [Hipster] at LÜLA.

 Xabiso Nodada attended the University of Transkei/Universiteit van Transkei.

Investors & Funding Rounds

Launch Africa, Samurai Incubate

 Lüla announced that it will seek to raise R2.5-million in return for giving up an 8.5% equity stake, through the local equity crowdfunding platform Uprise. Africa.

The campaign will run for 90 days and already 10 investors were alerted ahead of time of the campaign of the equity crowdfunding’s database of interested investors who have contributed R81 000.

Since its inception, the startup has raised over R3.7-million from local and international investors, securing nine local corporate companies as clients. Lüla was also part of SBC AfriTech’s Startupbootcamp cohort which was run in Cape Town.

Lüla intends to use the investment of R2.5-million to expand into different regions by hiring new team members, acquiring more partner drivers, scaling up operations, and further developing their technology.

Main Competitors

Ecov: It accompanies local authorities and communities in achieving real-time carpooling lines.

sRide: This is a carpooling application that helps users to share the cost of travel, increase mobility, and higher social connections among people.

Clockwork Logistics Systems: It automates the complex flow of data from Enterprise systems to the delivery moment and back again.


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