Nigerian bike hailing startup gets $7 million in Series A funding

Motorcycle hailing startup, Max.ng, has raised $7 million in a funding round led by Novastar Ventures and Japanese bike manufacturer Yamaha. Six million out of the investment is in Series A capital, while $1 million is in grants.

Yamaha confirmed its investment in Max to TechCrunch. Part of the company’s interest in the startup connects to market research and Yamaha’s existing Nigeria operations.

“We want to work with good entrepreneurs in Africa to develop new business in Africa. We really want to understand local needs for motorcycles and … to support [MAX] expanding their business,” Yamaha Motor Company’s official, Shoji Shiraishi revealed.

The funds will be deployed towards Max’s Electronic Vehicle (EV) development, the first in Africa’s growing motorcycle hailing industry, as well as investing massively in its technology capabilities, including payment infrastructure.

“We’re piloting electric motorcycles in partnership with EV manufacturers and working with grid operators across Nigeria to deploy charging stations,” the company’s CFO, Guy-Bertrand Njoya said. However, the executive did not disclose the EV partners but said that Yamaha is not currently part of the e-pilot and the research also includes renewable energy as an e-moto power source.

An expansion plan is also on the table. The firm is looking to expand to 10 cities in West Africa, starting with Ghana and Ivory Coast, and add new vehicle classes including watercraft and three-wheeled tuk-tuk taxis.

Since its founding in 2015, Max.ng has completed over 1 million trips and is one of the largest delivery partners in West Africa for Jumia. The Lagos-based company’s platform coordinates motorcycle taxi and delivery services for individuals and businesses, competing with Gokada and the newly-launched Opay.

Following the latest investment, the total funding of Max.ng is pegged at $9 million. Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Zrosk Investment Management and Alitheia Capital joined Novastar and Yamaha to invest in the startup’s $7 million round.

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