Nigerian bike-hailing startup Max.ng has raised a new round of unspecified funding, joining the two-wheeled big leagues to reclaim its portion of the Lagos transport market.
According to a report, the investment secured is between USD 5 Mn and USD 7 Mn, a range which makes this development perhaps Nigeria’s biggest bike-sharing single funding round.
The identity of the investors are being withheld, but the firm is saying two of them also backed Singapore’s Grab. Grab is a bike-hailing startup based in Southeast Asia, competing with Go-Jek for market share.
The firm recently raised USD 1.5 Bn from SoftBank Group Corps’ Vision Fund, and with total funding of USD 8.8 Bn (raised across 25 rounds), has a total of 17 investors, two of which have participated in Max .ng’s latest funding.
The fresh investment means the okada company has raised about USD 6 Mn since its inception in 2015. Founded by Adetoya Bamiduro, Max.ng began in Lagos as a motorbike delivery service, two years after which it took things up a notch by adding a ride-hailing app and credit facilities for would-be drivers to lease new motorcycles and pay for them consequently.
The company told Reuters: “What we’ve done is to look at the market in Nigeria and across the region and say ‘what pieces are missing?’: financial infrastructure for mobility doesn’t exist, ride-hailing technology for two-wheeled and three-wheeled mobility doesn’t exist,” Bamiduro told Reuters.
Through The Boundaries
Max.ng is the first bike-hailing company in Nigeria who has expanded geographically. Already operating in three states in the West African nation, the bike-hailing firm, with the new funding, looks to expand to a fourth location.
The transport-tech also has its eyes set outside Nigeria, as it is reported that it will open branches in other West African countries – Ghana and Ivory Coast before the year runs out.
Max.ng also wants to double down on its rides, and take patronage to 2 million by the midpoint of 2020. So far, the startup’s total rides completed is around 200,000. The company has received many criticisms, some regarding its business model and others about the challancy level of its riders.
Definitely, the new round of funding does not only bring Max.ng back into the ride-hailing market with a shout but also but stiffens the motorcycle-hauling war in Africa’s most populous nation.
The More, The Merrier?
On the roads to beat the immortalized Lagos traffic and garner a significant market share in Nigeria’s e-hailing, bike-sharing startups are on the prowl.
While Uganda’s SafeBoda yet schemes its Nigerian expansion with funding in the bank from Allianz X, GoKada recently raised USD 5.3 Mn from Rise Capital to expand operations, after which it announced the earlier-than-anticipated unveiling of its boat-hailing arm, GBoat.
ORide, a new Lagos entrant, is giving its competitors a run for their money. Still less than a month of launch, this brainchild of the Norwegian Opera Software company and an offshoot of fintech OPay, ORide relies on a USD 40 Mn funding created by the parent company to invest in Africa.
As a matter of fact, the startup is offering rides to anywhere in Lagos for a whopping NGN 100 on a promotional level this June.
Nigeria is the biggest economy on the continent, with a leading population of more than 190 million. While Uber and Taxify battle for a share in cab-hailing, these motorcycle startups rely on the low rate of car owners in the country.
According to Max.ng and GoKada, there are no less than 8 million bike riders in Nigeria, in an informal industry notorious for disobeying traffic rules and being pioneered by inexperienced drivers.
Update (June 20): Max.ng has clarified the exact amount raised and the investors involved. Turns out the company secured USD 7 Mn (USD 6 Mn in Series A and USD 1 Mn in grants) from Novastar Ventures who led the round, and Japanese manufacturer Yamaha. The startup also wants to expand its operations to ten West African cities.