Motorbike hailing service, Max.ng, has raised $7 million funding. This round is led by Novastar Ventures, with the participation of Japanese manufacturer, Yamaha.
Nairametrics understands that a breakdown of the funding has $6 million as Series A capital and $1 million as grants.
Confirming the development, Yamaha’s Shoji Shiraishi stated that part of the company’s interest in Max.ng connects to market research and Yamaha’s existing Nigeria operations. He disclosed that “we want to work with good entrepreneurs in Africa to develop new business in Africa.”
Yamaha, which manufactures and sells motorcycles in Nigeria, “really want to understand local needs for motorcycles and…to support [MAX] expanding their business,” Shiraishi said.
How the funding will be deployed: In what seems to be a first in Africa’s growing motorcycle hailing industry, Max.ng will use its new funding for Electronic Vehicle (EV) development, the company’s CFO Guy-Bertrand Njoya said.
“We’re piloting electric motorcycles in partnership with EV manufacturers and working with grid operators across Nigeria to deploy charging stations.”
Njoya stressed that with the fund, the company is planning to invest massively in its technology capabilities, including its payment infrastructure.
More so, motorbike hailing service is planning on expanding to 10 cities in West Africa (starting in Ghana and Ivory Coast), and add new vehicle classes—including watercraft and three-wheeled tuk tuk taxis.
Max.ng’s total funding: In view of the new development, the total funding of Max.ng has been pegged at $9 million. Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Zrosk Investment Management, and Alitheia Capital have joined Novastar Ventures and Yamaha to invest in the motorbike hailing startup.
How motorbike hailing startups were warmly received in Lagos: It is pertinent to note that Max.ng operates in Lagos, alongside Gokada and the newly-launched Opay.
Commercial motorcycles have existed in the state for decades. However, due to the fact that motorcyclists have, on multiple occasions, demonstrated recklessness at the expense of their passengers’ lives, Lagosians were warned against patronising them. During the administration of Governor Babatunde Fashola in Lagos, these motorbikes were even banned from plying major roads within the state.
The problem facing traditional motorcyclists presented an opportunity for the relatively new motorbike hailing startups, which have been able to penetrate the market space by providing safer options. These startups emphasize on features such as:
- Carrying only one passenger at a time.
- Passengers compulsorily wear helmets.
- Training of riders to comply with traffic laws.
- Treating their customers with respect.
Having gained traction in the market space, existing motorbike hailing firms have no doubt been able to pull strong customer bases from motorbike passengers in the state.