Nigerian MAX raises $31m to expand electric vehicle solutions across Africa
Nigerian mobility tech startup Metro Africa Xpress Inc. (MAX) has secured $31 million in Series B funding to enter more markets across Africa with the aim of formalizing the continent’s transportation sector.
The funding will also be used to extend vehicle financing credit to over 100,000 drivers in the next two years, as well as enter markets including Ghana and Egypt by the end of the first quarter of 2022, and other additional markets in Francophone, East and Southern Africa by the close of the same year.
“This is another milestone in our journey to make mobility safe, affordable, accessible, and sustainable by deploying high-performance technologies and operators. The investment will enable us to transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of drivers across the continent, accelerate international expansion, and continue our pioneering initiatives in the mobility space,” Adetayo Bamiduro, co-founder MAX said.
The round was led by Lightrock, a global private equity firm that is making its first investment in the African mobility industry, with participation from Global Ventures, Novastar Ventures and Proparco through their Digital Africa project.
Founded in 2015 by Adetayo Bamiduro and Chinedu Azodoh , the company started as a delivery startup using motorcycles to fulfil customer orders before venturing into ride-hailing, and later into vehicle subscription and financing services – solutions it came up with based on the data from its first services.
With the introduction of vehicle financing in 2018, and in a period of two years, the company understudied drivers’ operations and found out that most of them do not own the vehicles they use, hence the initiative.
“It became clear that the fundamental issue that drivers face is consistent access to vehicles. And that is when we realized that if we are to be successful at solving the challenge of mobility across the continent, we have to first address the issue of vehicle access,” Bamiduro said.
As part of its catalogue of services, MAX plans to build electric vehicle infrastructure in its new markets, with the intention of introducing them to its emerging clients. The company currently provides two, three and four-wheeler EVs to drivers through various leasing and financing options.
Providing solutions to challenges around mobility has been at the centre of MAX’s operations and sought to solve the challenges of growing driver earnings by reducing their operating costs, with its electric mobility idea.
“It’s an additional option that we wanted to provide to the drivers because what they care most about is making a decent living through increased income. For us, electric mobility is going to be a significant driver of that objective because electric vehicles are today more cost-effective than their gas equivalents,” Guy-Bertrand Njoya, chief financial officer, Max said.
MAX currently designs and assembles its own line of electric motorcycles with partners including Yamaha, a motorcycle manufacturer, to deliver their electric vehicles.
“We work with Yamaha in the area of access to vehicles for the drivers, and in the access to finance. As a testament of the success of our work and partnership, Yamaha today has set up a dedicated driver vehicle financing entity for Africa against the backdrop of the work that we’ve been doing with them over the past couple of years,” Njoya said.
The startup is working towards becoming the go-to vehicle subscription and financial services platform for millions of transport operators across the continent. They recently partnered with Estonian ride-hailing company Bolt in a lease-to-own arrangement that is set to enable 10,000 drivers under the platform in Nigeria to acquire energy-efficient vehicles.