Investment round led by Lightrock, Global Ventures
Metro Africa Xpress (MAX) has raised $31 million of new capital in a Series B close led by global private equity platform, Lightrock, for whom it is their first investment in the African mobility space, and UAE-based international venture capital firm, Global Ventures.
This is in addition to the $40 million raised by MAX in institutional debt for driver financing.
The largest vehicle subscription platform for low-to-zero emission vehicles in Africa, in a disclosure, said the fund will be used to drive international expansion into Egypt and Ghana during the first quarter of 2022, followed by Francophone, East, and Southern Africa. The capital will also enable the deployment of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, and the provision of credit and financial products to over 100,000 drivers.
The mobility company, which was founded in 2015 by Adetayo Bamiduro and Chinedu Azodoh, is using innovative technology to leverage alternative data sets to power driver onboarding, dynamic credit assessment, fleet optimization, digital payments, and advanced risk management. And to enable its expansion across other sub-Saharan countries within the first three months of 2022, it is building rails for mobility in Africa through the delivery of integrated, affordable and collateral-free vehicle subscription packages, including low to zero-emission vehicles, healthcare, insurance, maintenance, and eHailing subscriptions. This model helps drivers maximise their revenues and minimise costs.
With over 15 million commercial drivers across Africa’s mobility industry valued at $250 billion, MAX is serving over 13,000 drivers, with over 60,000 prospective drivers in the pipeline and can also boast of more than 17 million trips which have been completed through the platform and saving over 22,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Meanwhile, the company has set the tone with its operating model and its technology, which is deployed in partnership with global OEMs, such as Yamaha, ride-hailing platforms, such as Bolt, financial services strategic partners, payment infrastructure providers and clean energy providers.
Per the investment round, Adetayo Bamiduro, CEO of MAX, said: “We are delighted to announce this funding round. This new investment from highly respected global investors, such as Lightrock and Global Ventures, plus continued support from our existing investors, further validates our business model and strategy.
“It 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.”
Ravi Sharma, partner at Lightrock, said: “With rapid urbanization fuelling the African mobility market growth, MAX is effectively and sustainably matching supply and demand for affordable, safe and reliable transportation to the benefit of passengers, drivers and the environment, pioneering electric vehicles in Africa. We are enthusiastic about backing MAX and their highly capable management team in further scaling the transformation of African mobility.”
Noor Sweid, general partner, Global Ventures, while expressing his sentiments about the funding round, said “With Max, we were drawn to both the team and the product. The company was founded by a stellar and experienced team with a deep and thorough understanding of the market, who have successfully built a comprehensive tech-driven platform that is truly driver-centric, offering a one-stop solution with embedded fintech, insurtech and govtech services. We are thrilled to welcome them to the portfolio as our first investment in the African mobility space.”
Brian Waswani Odhiambo, director, West Africa, Novastar Ventures, said: “Novastar was an early supporter of MAX and we’ve been impressed by the tremendous growth the business has achieved in the last few years. We are excited to not only double down in this round but also to welcome new investors, Global Ventures, Lightrock, and others to the journey. The team at MAX has built great solutions for mobility and we can’t wait to scale these into new markets in Africa and the rest of the world.”
With MAX currently building the largest vehicle subscription and financial services platform for transport operators and drivers across Africa, it is noteworthy to mention that the oversubscribed investment round on the company included participation from new investors such as venture debt from Proparco, the French development finance institution, through its Digital Africa Bridge Fund.