The last few months have been very interesting for the Nigeria motorcycle hailing industry. From new players coming in, to expansion and raising of funds. And it’s not looking to stop anytime soon as premier bike-hailing startup Max.ng has expanded to the city of Akure in Ondo state, Nigeria.
News of this expansion comes barely a month after the startup raised $7 million in a Series A round of funding from an elite group of strategic and financial investors from the US, Europe, Asia and Africa. Following the funding, the startup made known its plans to launch into a fourth city in Nigeria, after consolidating its presence in Lagos and two other locations in Nigeria.
The company had also disclosed its plans to expand internationally to 10 African countries, beginning with Ghana and Ivory Coast before the end of 2019. As well as plans to pilot and deploy electric motorcycles across Nigeria.
These are efforts by the startup to maintain its lead in a market where competition has intensified. MAX isn’t the only player that has its eyes on expansion. New entrants, ORide (funded by Opera) has also expanded to the city of Ibadan in Oyo state. Gokada also recently dropped a hint of expansion to Ekiti and Ondo on its Twitter platform, when it paid courtesy visits to the governors of both states.
Why Are They All Expanding?
Following their launch in Lagos, Africa’s largest city, the startups were widely accepted amongst citizens. Thanks to the traffic epidemic of the state, residents found a safer and more convenient option to get to places faster.
But as we know the ride-hailing market in Nigeria is nascent and with new entrants getting into the market, there’s need for existing startups to take big steps. They need to convince the market that they are ahead of the curve and ready to innovate – hence expansion.
With an emphasis on safety and comfort, these startups and their services expanding to these cities could mean residents doing away with the conventional okadas (motorcycles) who are associated with recklessness. But this won’t erase the existence of traditional riders as they will remain the go-to for the non-techy individuals, short distance rides and those in the rural areas where the likes of MAX riders might not readily reach.
Also in expanding to these cities, these startups would be taking on new challenges. They are faced with effecting competitive fare rates. They will also have to enlighten people on how to use their app and show residents why moving from place to place with their bikes is safer and more cost friendly than traditional bikes.
This may not be totally impossible considering that these cities both have a fair amount of students and young professionals.
Also, these startups may want to apply their services beyond passenger transport to delivery and logistics, since a bike has a bigger advantage of getting to remote areas and maneuvering traffic. And with the rise of internet businesses across the country, a motorcycle courier is a crucial element in e-commerce activities.
Already, Max.ng runs a delivery service in Lagos, and so expansion into other areas will mean the expansion of this service too.
Nevertheless, all these indicate that the scales are about to tip for the bike-sharing industry. It would be awesome to see how it all pans out for the startup and the market.
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