Toronto-headquartered shared mobility startup, Plentywaka, which provides hassle-free shared rides on-demand, announced that it has fully acquired Stabus, one of Ghana’s leading mobility startups. This is a step to further Plentywaka’s ambition of building the largest shared mobility platform on the African continent, starting with West Africa.
Following up on the acquisition deal announced today, Stabus will now be known as Plentywaka Ghana, with the mobility platform offering a range of low-cost and premium vehicles, including cars, mini-vans and buses for public transportation. Isidore Kpotufe will become the Country Manager of Plentywaka Ghana and will be joined by the current team of Stabus.
Plentywaka’s acquisition of Stabus comes in the wake of announcing its seed round of $1.2M, only two months after successfully ending the Techstars Toronto Accelerator Program in July 2021. This investment in Plentywaka attracted a wide range of investors from Canada, the United States, China and Nigeria. The Xchange, a Toronto-based fund, led this seed round, while Techstars followed on their previous investment in Plentywaka to participate in the round as well.
Nigerian investment firms who participated in the round include Argentil Capital Partners and ODBA & Co Ventures, an early-stage investor in Kuda Bank. There were also a couple of angel investors from Canada, the US and Africa who also participated in the seed round to give Plentywaka the much-needed boost to continue its impressive growth. Other investors include SOSV, the most active VC globally in the angel/seed deal type and ShockVentures, a VC from the United States.
Plentywaka’s Co-Founder & CEO, Onyeka Akumah said, “Plentywaka’s acquisition of Stabus is a firm statement about our commitment to grow and build the largest shared mobility startup in Africa, one country at a time. Isidore is a brilliant entrepreneur, and we are excited about having him and his team execute our plans for the Ghanaian market as Plentywaka Ghana’s operations commence on the 16th of September in Accra.
“In addition to our work in Ghana, we are also really happy about the progress we’ve made in Nigeria to scale our Dailywaka service that provides bus-stop to bus-stop transportation service for thousands of commuters.
“Today, we have moved close to half a million people, and that’s a credit to my team’s effort, our heroes (a term used to describe Plentywaka drivers) and our investors who continue to believe and support our growth with their investments. With our Travelwaka service, we have been able to cater for interstate travellers across 21 cities in Nigeria, and we are looking to expand to more cities as new bus partners sign up with us.”
Todd Finch, Founder and Managing Partner of The Xchange, the lead investor in the seed round, commented “The Xchange is on a mission to fuel purpose-driven founders with the capital and resources they need to realize the world-changing potential of their ideas. Given Onyeka’s proven track record, his teams’ undeniable thirst for making an impact, and Plentywaka’s impressive growth, we knew this was an opportunity we wanted to invest in.”
With over 25 years of experience in building innovative technology startups, Todd Finch shared, “the Xchange is excited to help Plentywaka accelerate and scale their impact. We are excited to support Onyeka and the team with the resources they need to realize the full potential of their vision to change the African transport ecosystem. We have been most impressed with Plentywaka’s human-centered approach, putting the drivers as the heroes of the story while creating an exceptional passenger experience. We are committed to supporting the vision of Plentywaka, its founders, and its journey for many years to come.”
Also speaking on Techstar’s participation in the Plentywaka seed round, Sunil Sharma, Managing Director of Techstars Toronto, said, “We are incredibly excited by our investment in Plentywaka. Techstars is a huge believer in the future of Africa and a proud supporter of African entrepreneurs. Onyeka is a two-time Techstars founder, which deepens this relationship further.”
Despite suspending its operations for five months in 2020 due to the global pandemic, Plentywaka has still been able to get 960 vehicles registered on its platform and help its riders commute more than 480,000 times in less than two years. According to Onyeka Akumah, expanding into Ghana is just the beginning for the team as it aligns with its Pan-African expansion plan.
He said that Plentywaka is going to replicate its model across six other African countries within the next two years and will be looking for the right kind of investors and partners to join the ‘black and yellow’ movement to provide the best-in-class transportation service connecting cities and communities with technology across Africa.
Stabus was launched in 2019 by its Co-Founder, Isidore Kpotufe who shared that the startup has moved over 100,000 people to Accra, the capital city of Ghana. Their services include daily bus-stop to bus-stop transportation as well as providing staff bus solutions for multinationals like MTN Ghana and GB Foods. Following up on the acquisition deal announced today, Stabus will now be known as Plentywaka Ghana with the mobility platform offering a range of low-cost and premium vehicles which includes cars, mini-vans, and buses for public transportation. Isidore Kpotufe will become the Country Manager of Plentywaka Ghana and will be joined by the current team of Stabus.
Intuit to Accuire Mailchimp for $12B in cash and stock
Intuit, the global technology platform that makes TurboTax, QuickBooks, Mint, and Credit Karma, today announced that it has agreed to acquire Mailchimp, a world-class, global customer engagement and marketing platform for growing small and mid-market businesses.
The planned acquisition of Mailchimp for approximately $12 billion in cash and stock advances Intuit’s mission of powering prosperity around the world, and its strategy to become an AI-driven expert platform. With the acquisition of Mailchimp, Intuit will accelerate two of its previously-shared strategic Big Bets: to become the center of small business growth; and to disrupt the small business mid-market.
Together, Intuit and Mailchimp will work to deliver on the vision of an innovative, end-to-end customer growth platform for small and mid-market businesses, allowing them to get their business online, market their business, manage customer relationships, benefit from insights and analytics, get paid, access capital, pay employees, optimize cash flow, be organized and stay compliant, with experts at their fingertips. Delivering on the promise to be the single source of truth, small and mid-market businesses will have the power to combine their customer data from Mailchimp and QuickBooks’ purchase data to get the actionable insights they need to grow and run their businesses with confidence.
“We’re focused on powering prosperity around the world for consumers and small businesses. Together, Mailchimp and QuickBooks will help solve small and mid-market businesses’ biggest barriers to growth, getting and retaining customers,” said Sasan Goodarzi, CEO of Intuit. “Expanding our platform to be at the center of small and mid-market business growth helps them overcome their most important financial challenges. Adding Mailchimp furthers our vision to provide an end-to-end customer growth platform to help our customers grow and run their businesses, putting the power of data in their hands to thrive.”
Autochek Acquires Cheki Kenya and Uganda to Provide Seamless Access To Auto Financing Across East Africa
Barely a year after Autochek successfully acquired Cheki Nigeria and Ghana as part of its launch in West Africa, the automotive technology company has now entered into an agreement with ROAM Africa (Ringier One Africa Media) to acquire Cheki Kenya and Cheki Uganda, amid plans to expand further into the African market. The deal will be finalised within the following weeks and will see Cheki Kenya and Uganda’s operations integrate with the wider Autochek operations.
Founded in 2010, Cheki Kenya has built a network of hundreds of dealers, more than 12,000 vehicles listed monthly and 700,000 monthly unique users on its platform with 80% plus year-on-year growth in the last two years. With credit penetration in Kenya at 27.5%, significantly higher than the West African market, which stands at 5%, East Africa’s growing market is positioned as a key auto financing hub, and Autochek is now strategically positioned to scale as it becomes a pan-African player.
According to the Founder and CEO Etop Ikpe, the expansion into the East African region is the next step needed to continue Autocheck’s mission to provide seamless access to auto financing across the continent. Building on Cheki’s 10 years of experience, Autochek is set to introduce additional technology solutions that will integrate the auto ecosystem as well as increase market adoption for auto loan financing. As part of the agreement, ROAM Africa will also transfer ownership and operational control to Autochek.
Speaking on the acquisition, Etop Ikpe said, “The acquisition of Cheki Kenya and Uganda is an important milestone for us, and we are excited to be working with ROAM Africa once again, building on their achievements over the past years. ROAM Africa has an unrivalled track record of operating and scaling some of Sub-Saharan Africa’s most innovative classified marketplaces, and we look forward to leveraging on this solid business foundation.”
“Autochek’s mandate is to accelerate the ability of African consumers to access better quality and affordable vehicles by providing access to financing, while also derisking the auto lending process for financial institutions. We are long-time admirers and collaborators of the Cheki brand; following today’s news, we intend to provide even more trust and transparency in East Africa’s automotive sector, leveraging the unique networks we are now joining together.”
Clemens Weitz, CEO of ROAM Africa, says, “Across the world, we see a new evolution of digital automotive platforms, requiring deep specialisation. Specifically in Africa, we believe that Autochek is the one player with the best team and expertise to truly create a game-changing consumer experience. Our Cheki team has built a unique, market-leading brand and a truly remarkable business. Most importantly, I want to thank everyone in the team who contributed to this success. Now we are excited to see that taken to the next level. Whilst this is good news for everyone directly involved, the ultimate benefactor will be African car buyers and sellers.”
“For ROAM Africa, this deal is more than a perfect transaction: It unleashes even more focus on the strategic playbook for our core businesses. We have a clear strategy that will further strengthen our leading marketplaces and invest in innovative product solutions. The opportunity is now bigger than ever since the pandemic has vastly accelerated digitisation across the continent. In the last two years, our businesses recorded unprecedented growth. Thus, our commitment to connect Africans to opportunities remains strong.”
Launched in 2020 and backed by notable investors such as TLcom Capital and 4DX Ventures, Autochek combines technology underpinned by data analytics to deepen auto finance penetration across the continent. With a presence in Nigeria and Ghana, the company’s 360-degree automotive solution also provides a strong network of after-sales services that preserve and eases vehicle ownership experience across Africa.
Ideanomics To Buy VIA Motors For Nearly $630M
Financial technology company Ideanomics Inc said on Monday that it will acquire VIA Motors International Inc in an all-stock deal that would value the electric commercial vehicle firm at about $630 million.
The acquisition comes as several automakers are competing to develop electric vehicles after China, Europe and other countries and regions mandated lower carbon emissions.
Ideanomics will offer 162 million shares to shareholders of VIA Motors International, and the latter is expected to own about 25 percent of the combined entity, the companies said in a joint statement.
“Ideanomics is separately issuing $50 million of the secured convertible note to VIA Motors to fund its growth, and that will be subject to purchase price adjustment,” they said.
Utah-based VIA Motors is eligible for potential earnout consideration of up to $180 million, which would be paid in Ideanomics’ stock, according to the statement.
VIA Motors Chief Executive Officer Bob Purcell will maintain his leadership role and the company would operate as a distinct business unit reporting to Ideanomics’ Chief Executive Alf Poor.
New York City-based Ideanomics operates as a fintech company and its Mobile Energy Global unit helps commercial fleet operators procure electric vehicles.
A slew of fast-growing EV startups has taken advantage of the boom in capital markets in the past 12 months, either through initial public offerings or via a merger with special purpose acquisition companies, with the latest being Amazon.com Inc-backed Rivian filing to go public last week.
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