The first close of a Series B funding round for Nigeria’s Metro Africa Xpress (MAX), a vehicle subscription platform for low-to-zero emission vehicles, has secured US$31 million, with more closes planned in the coming weeks.
By the end of the first quarter of 2022, the funds will be utilized to enter Ghana and Egypt, as well as other Francophone, East, and Southern African markets by the end of the year. In the next two years, the funds will also be used to extend vehicle financing credit to over 100,000 drivers.
“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,” Bamiduro said.
“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.”
The funding round was led by Lightrock, a global private equity platform, which is making its first investment in the African mobility space, and Global Ventures, an international venture capital firm based in the United Arab Emirates. It also includes new investors, including venture debt from Proparco, a French development finance institution, via its Digital Africa Bridge Fund. Novastar Ventures, an existing investor, also took part.
MAX launched as a delivery startup in 2015, using motorcycles to fulfill client orders, before expanding into ride-hailing and, later, vehicle subscription and finance services, all of which were developed using data from its first services.
Driver onboarding, dynamic credit assessment, fleet optimisation, digital payments, and advanced risk management are all powered by MAX’s platform, which uses alternative data sets. The startup’s technology is backed by global OEMs like Yamaha, ride-hailing platforms like Bolt, financial services strategic partners, payment infrastructure providers, and clean energy providers.
MAX now employs over 13,000 drivers, with another 60,000 in the pipeline. The platform has completed over 17 million trips, and the startup is now seeking to grow following the first close of its Series B round.
Ravi Sharma, partner at Lightrock, said with rapid urbanisation fuelling the African mobility market growth, MAX was 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,” he said.
Noor Sweid, a general partner at Global Ventures, said her firm had been drawn to both team and product at MAX.
“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,” she said.