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Max.ng Secures $7m Investment Fund

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  • Max.ng Secures $7m Investment Fund

Max.ng, one of Nigeria’s motorbike startups, has raised $7 million from some of the top investors in the world to expand its business operations in West Africa.

The app-based motorcycle startup raised six million of the investment in Series A funding and another $1 million in grants.

The investors are Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Zrosk Investment Management, Alitheia Capital, Novastar Ventures and Yamaha.

MAX has now raised a total of $9 million in funding.

According to Guy-Bertrand Njoya, MAX’s CFO, the company will use the fund to push its expansion drive to 10 cities in West Africa and add new vehicle classes –including watercraft and three-wheeled tuk tuk taxis.

“We intend to invest massively in our technology capabilities,” he said.

Shoji Shiraishi, the head of Yamaha’s New Venture Business Development Section, said “We want to work with good entrepreneurs in Africa to develop new business in Africa,” he stated. “We really want to understand local needs for motorcycles and…to support [MAX] expanding their business.”

This is the company’s second investment in a ride-hailing company in emerging market within a year after investing about $150 million in Grab, a Southeast Asian taxi company.

Similarly, Gokada, MAX’s competitor raised $5.3 million two months ago to expand and has since launched a Gboat service to transport people through the waterways.

However, MAX co-founder, Chinedu Azodoh, said the company is not scared to compete given its edge.

“We’re a very driver-centric business and at the end of the day the driver is where the business is at. If we find that maybe there’s something else we’re missing out on, we’re happy to jump into that.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Technology

Chinese Smartphone Giant Xiaomi Shares Gains Over 6 Percent After U.S. Agrees to Remove it From Blacklist

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Xiaomi - Investorsking

The U.S. has agreed to remove Xiaomi from a blacklist that would have barred Americans from investing in the Chinese smartphone maker.

Shares of Chinese tech giant Xiaomi rallied as much as 6.5 percent after the news, before paring some gains.

In January, the administration under former President Donald Trump designated Xiaomi as one of several “Communist Chinese military companies” or CCMC.

This meant the world’s third-largest smartphone maker was subject to a November executive order restricting American investors from buying shares or related securities of any companies given this designation by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).

Xiaomi brought a legal challenge against the U.S. Department of Defense.

In March, a U.S. court granted Xiaomi a preliminary injunction against the Trump-era order, saying the company would “suffer irreparable harm in the form of serious reputational and unrecoverable economic injuries.”

And on Tuesday, the DOD agreed that a “final order vacating” Xiaomi’s designation as a CCMC “would be appropriate,” according to a court filing.

Xiaomi and the DOD will “negotiate over the specific terms of the order” and provide the court with a “joint proposed order” on or before May 20.

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Telecommunications

Airtel Africa Grows Revenue by 14.2 Percent to $3,908m in Q1 2021

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Airtel Financial Results - Investors King

Airtel Africa Plc, a leading telecommunications company in Africa, grew its revenue by 14.2 percent to $3,908 million in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021, the company stated in its just-released financial statements.

The company reported growth across all its regions with East Africa leading with 23.5 percent growth. Nigeria followed with 21.9 percent growth while Francophone Africa accounted for 10 percent growth. See Airtel Africal financial highlights below.

Airtel Africa Financial Highlights

 Reported revenue grew by 14.2% to $3,908m, with Q4’21 reported revenue growth of 15.4%.
 Constant currency underlying revenue growth was 19.4%, with Q4’21 growth of 21.7%. Growth was recorded across all regions: Nigeria up 21.9%, East Africa up 23.5% and Francophone Africa up 10%; and across key services, with revenues for voice up 11.0%, data up 31.2% and mobile money up 35.5%.
 Underlying EBITDA was $1,792m, up 18.3% in reported currency, and growing 25.2% in constant currency.
 Underlying EBITDA margin was 46.1%, adding 181 basis points(210 basis points higher in constant currency). Underlying EBITDA margin for Q4’21 was 47.7%, an increase of 389 basis points in constant currency.
 Operating profit increased 24.2% to $1,119m in reported currency, and by 32.8% in constant currency.
 Free cash flow was $647m, up 42.8% on the prior year.
 Basic EPS was 9.0 cents, down 12.6%, largely due to prior year exceptional items and a one-off derivative gain. Excluding these, basic restated EPS rose 44.5%. EPS before exceptional items was 8.2 cents.
 Our customer base grew by 6.9% to 118.2 million, with increased penetration across mobile data (customer base up 14.5%) and mobile money services (customer base up 18.5%). The recent slowdown in customer base growth has been due to new SIM registration regulationsin Nigeria.
 The Board has recommended a final dividend of 2.5 cents per share, making the total dividend for FY21 4.0 cents per share.

Commenting on the company’s performance, Raghunath Mandava, chief executive officer, said “In these challenging timesI want to say a huge thank you to all our employees, our business partners, and governments and regulators who have supported us, and in turn facilitated our continued support to the economies and communities we serve.

“Our performance has been strong, with reported growth of 13.6% in underlying revenue and 18.3% in underlying EBITDA, and constant currency growth of 19.4% and 25.2% respectively. Contributions to this growth came across all regions, with particular improvement in Francophone Africa, and across all our major services, with mobile money, data and voice each posting double-digit revenue growth.

“Our customer base also grew strongly for most of the year with new customer registration requirements in Nigeria stemming our onboarding of new customers in the final quarter, and these restrictions were lifted in second half of April.

“In line with our strategy of unlocking value in our mobile money business, we will soon welcome two new minority investors (The Rise Fund and Mastercard) in agreed transactions which value this part of our business at $2.65bn, as well as bringing $300m into the Group. We have also agreed to sell more of our tower portfolio, yielding yet more cash for the business.

“The Covid pandemic had eased during the course of the year, however, more recently we have seen a surge in cases. So far this has had no adverse impact on the business, though we will continue to monitor the situation closely.

“In these times, our purpose of transforming lives has never been more critical. It has always meant more than simply providing mobile and financial services; it is about our drive to create a sustainable future. To that end, this year the leadership team has worked to create our sustainability framework, outlining the role we can play and the focus areas where we can make the biggest difference for each of our business, our people, our community, and our environment.

“We will report back with our goals later this year and deliver our first sustainability report in 2022. The combination of bringing connectivity to underpenetrated mobile markets and improving financial inclusion through banking the unbanked, across our territories of operation, together provide us with a sizeable runway of sustainable profitable growth potential, and one we remain very confident of delivering.”

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Social Media

Facebook Opens Accelerator Programme for Nigeria, Others

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Facebook Accelerator Programme - Investors King

Social media giant, Facebook, has started receiving applications for its Accelerator Programme for this year.

It said it is, therefore, inviting community leaders from Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya to apply for the 2021 Facebook Community Accelerator Programme, a programme that offers participants training, mentorship and up to $50,000 in funds to invest in an initiative that extends their community’s positive impact.

Its Partner Management Lead, Middle East and Africa Community Partnerships, Kiran Yoliswa, said Facebook communities and their leaders are helping to resolve social challenges, sharing knowledge and information, while connecting with others that share their interests or passion for a cause.

We’ve seen so many incredible communities from across South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria using our platform to drive change and provide support and encouragement for thousands of people, we’re excited to offer their Facebook Community leaders this program to help amplify their impact even more,” Yoliswa said, that the aim of the programme is to help leaders of Facebook communities to harness the power of their community to turn ideas into action. The selected leaders will spend five months learning from experts, coaches and a customised curriculum so they can strengthen their community.

Lessons include community identity foundations, leading action-oriented programmes and sustainability. Participants will also receive early access to new Facebook products aimed at helping communities better manage and activate their members.

Participants will identify an important initiative that will create a positive impact on the broader world and develop a plan to mobilise their community around their goal. Initiatives will be shared with potential partners, mentors and a panel of judges for the chance to be awarded funding and receive public recognition.

Participants will then spend three months executing their initiatives. They will collaborate with advocates and leaders in the community space and work with the Facebook team to bring their ideas to life.

Yoliswa said the programme is open to communities that have a presence in Facebook Groups with leaders who are 18 years or older. Communities must have existed for over one year and must have a minimum size of 1,000 members. Applications open today, May 4 – 31, 2021.

The Community Accelerator is part of our Facebook Community Leadership Programme, a global initiative that invests in people building communities.

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