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Nigerian Tech Start-Up MAX Secures $31 Million

MetroAfrica Xpress Inc. will direct the funding towards expansion in West and North Africa, and will target East and Southern Africa towards the end of 2022.

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Nigerian Tech Start-Up MAX Secures $31 Million

Mobility tech startup MetroAfrica Xpress Inc., popularly called MAX, has secured $31 million in Series B funding as it drives towards providing a seamless transportation experience for Nigerians. This latest funding round was co-led by Global Ventures and Lightrock. Alongside other existing investors like Novastar Ventures and Proparco, the French development finance institution, through their Digital Africa initiative.

According to MAX, the company will use the funding to expand into other African countries like 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. The funds will also be used to provide vehicle financing credit to over 100,000 drivers.

MAX, which started in 2015 as just a delivery startup that uses motorcycles to deliver orders fully morphed into a ride-hailing company, before later evolving into vehicle subscription and financing services.

According to CFO Guy-Bertrand Njoya, the startup introduced vehicle financing as part of its service in 2018 and in just over two years, the churn rate by drivers affiliated with them has crashed to almost zero.

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“We spent time understanding drivers’ operations and it became apparent to us that most of them don’t own the vehicles they use. It became clear that the fundamental issue that drivers face is consistent access to vehicles. And that is when we realised 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.” As part of its services, MAX plans to build electric vehicle infrastructure in its new markets, to introduce its clientele to electric vehicles.

“It is another milestone in our journey to make mobility safe, affordable, accessible, and sustainable by deploying high-performance technologies and operators,” said MAX Co-Founder and CEO Adetayo Bamiduro. Chinedu Azodoh is the startup’s other Co-Founder. “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 EVs are today more cost-effective than their gas equivalents,” said Njoya.

MAX currently designs and assembles its line of electric motorcycles. Njoya said they work with partners across the ecosystem, including Yamaha, a leading motorcycle manufacturer, to deliver their EVs.

“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,” said Njoya.

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Njoya said the startup is working toward 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.

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