Reading Time: 7 minutes

Ladi Delano is the co-founder of Moove, an exciting startup hoping to improve access to cars in sub-Saharan Africa.

With $23 million in Series A funding secured, Moove seems to be on the cusp of serious expansion throughout the continent.

We caught up with Ladi to find out more about the company’s plans.

Congratulations on the new funding round – how pleased were you when it was finalised and how important will it be for your business?

Thank you! We are indeed very pleased and grateful to have closed the funding round with such amazing investors joining our cap table.

The implications on our business are many-fold:

1) We now have the opportunity to unlock new markets and serve more mobility entrepreneurs across the continent, furthering our vision of democratising vehicle ownership in Africa.

2) The equity funding will be used to develop new products and services, and across new vehicle asset classes as well (moving beyond just passenger cars).

3) We are now also able to really move into EV vehicles, piloting products to enable us to achieve one of our key impact objectives: Moove is committed to ensuring 60% of all loans are used to purchase EV or Hybrid vehicles. This has not been done before at scale in Africa and we’re very excited to be a pioneer in this space.

Moove Founders Jide And Ladi
Moove co-founders Jide Odunsi (left) and Ladi (right).

What inspired you to found Moove and how did you identify there was scope for the business to grow?

I believe that it is the responsibility of Africans, like myself, who have been afforded an opportunity to be educated and developed in the Western world, to use entrepreneurship to solve social challenges back home on the continent. Having built three other businesses in Nigeria with my partner, Jide Odunsi, via our venture studio Grace Lake Partners, we set out to build Moove, driven by a passion to create shared value and looking to leverage our extensive operating experience on the continent to provide Africans with a path to new vehicle ownership while creating new jobs.

On the continent, given the lack of good public infrastructure, the primary means of transportation for goods, people and services is done via informal mobility entrepreneurs using cars, buses and bikes; at least 40% of household earnings is spent on transport in Africa. As a result, ride-hailing has seen increasing demand over the last decade.

For example, Lagos is notorious for its heavy traffic congestion, driven by a large population (22m) and high density which are only increasing in tandem with continued rural-urban migration pressures. Lagos also has poor road quality and an inadequate public transport system for its large populace. The strong projected growth of ride-hailing demand in Lagos is driven by this rising unorganized urbanization, in addition to an emerging middle class and growing internet penetration.

Africa is a key growth market for ride-hailing, however, there is a lack of driver supply hours which is caused by limited access to vehicles. A significant portion of ride-hailing drivers depend on informal micro-rental schemes allowing drivers to rent cars from relatives, friends or micro-fleet managers. 80% of ride-hailing drivers don’t own the car they drive and a large portion are driving vehicles more than 10 years old.

In addition, many countries in Africa have high unemployment, particularly youth unemployment. In 2020 it was reported that nearly 20 million jobs in Africa were expected to be threatened by the COVID-19 crisis. Reports also emphasised that those between 15-24 were most at risk of unemployment – with levels reaching twice that of older adults. In June 2020, 45% of Nigerians had stopped working.

At Moove, we are focused on redefining the financial experience of mobility entrepreneurs on the continent by democratising vehicle ownership in order to make Africa more productive as well as using entrepreneurship to solve some prevalent problems, such as high unemployment and low female participation in the workforce. Mobility is key to moving economies forward on the continent, and Moove’s revenue-based financing model aims to formalise the fragmented mobility economy and to empower Africans to safely become mobility entrepreneurs.

In the press release for the funding announcement, you said: “Moove is the first investment in Africa for many of its U.S. VC backers”. Why do you think foreign VCs have been failing to invest in African businesses?

VCs everywhere look for great businesses being built by great teams. And a good idea can come from anywhere. In this respect, Africa has really started to rise in recent years in terms of being a place where opportunity meets talent. The continent is ripe for new businesses to be built and to grow because there are so many problems to be solved. International VCs have now started to realise this. And you’re now seeing this, with all the activity in African fintech (across payments, banking, SME and consumer lending).

What are the short-to-medium term objectives for Moove now that the funding has been secured?

Our vision is to democratize vehicle ownership across Africa and we are on a mission to build the largest full-service mobility fintech in Africa. Naturally, expansion across Africa is on the horizon and we have plans to be in 11 markets (cities) by Q1 2022, and we believe that our revenue-financing model can help to solve the same problem in other emerging markets when the time is right.

Furthermore, Moove is a mission-led company focused on delivering impact across three key commitments and we have clear objectives on delivering on these objectives:

Financial Inclusion: Moove aims to give Africans 100% access to affordable vehicle financing while creating job opportunities and empowering a new generation of mobility entrepreneurs. We’re also committed to improving financial wellbeing through an ecosystem of products and services available on the Moove app.

Environment & Safety: Moove is focused on providing new, fuel-efficient vehicles at scale, and we are committed to ensuring that at least 60% of the vehicles it finances are EVs or hybrid vehicles. We’re also dedicated to improving safety standards through training and ongoing vehicle maintenance and servicing.

Gender Equality: Using our alternative credit-scoring technology and revenue-based model, Moove is empowering more women to access financing and become mobility entrepreneurs. We’re committed to ensuring that at least 50% of our customers are female. We support our female customers through a network of Moove Women Ambassadors and develop features and products in collaboration with female customer focus groups.

Aside from the lack of access to funding are there any other obstacles standing in the way of mass car ownership in Africa?

Lack of access to credit is the main obstacle to car ownership in Africa. Lack of car manufacturing capacity is also an issue, and that is primarily driven by the lack of demand for new cars due to the lack of access to credit.

Most of the cars in Africa are old vehicles exported by developed countries, which creates other challenges for car owners including the cost of repairs, maintenance, and insurance, road safety and climate impact due to emissions. For us at Moove, we want to also try and tackle this issue by putting more new, fuel-efficient and EV vehicles on the road, whilst also being a one-stop-shop providing value-added services such as maintenance, fuel and insurance, to simplify that the path to vehicle ownership for all Africans, starting with mobility entrepreneurs.

With yourself and Jide both being British-born but of Nigerian heritage, are you expecting to see other businesses founded in Africa by members of the diaspora?

I don’t think this phenomenon is new, but now the tools are there – there is capital and technology is enabling previously unsolvable problems to be tackled. This is just the beginning. The continued growth of a deeper homegrown talent pool on the continent means that the trifecta of opportunity, financial capital and human capital will continue to provide a runway for more interesting African businesses to be launched. I’m calling on my fellow members of the African diaspora to come back to the continent to join us in solving problems for our home markets.

You say you are committed to ensuring that 50 per cent of your customers are women,” why are these important to yourselves and your business?

There are two key reasons why we focus on this commitment:

One, the data around women drivers are highly compelling. Women are better drivers and have better safety records; the data has shown us this. So this makes economic sense and it is good for business.

Two, and perhaps more importantly, growing up in a Nigerian household, I know first hand the multiplier effect African women having income can have on the economy. We believe that by empowering women to become mobility entrepreneurs and providing them with the tools and flexibility to support their families, we can create a positive and sustainable social and economic impact.

You list “Extra earning from Moove incentives” and “10% of advertising revenue” as the additional benefits for customers – could you expand some more on how these benefits work and why you decided to implement them?

Moove is committed to providing access to affordable vehicle financing. We want to see our customers own their vehicles at the end of their loan term and be proud of what they’ve achieved and earned.
As long as our customers meet their revenue targets to fulfil their weekly minimum loan repayment requirements & services fees, they get to keep 100% of incremental revenues generated above their weekly revenue targets. Our customers tend to be 3x more productive than non-Moove Uber drivers and therefore typically earning significantly more than other non-Moove drivers after all expenses.
Fundamentally, we believe in creating shared value, so it’s only right that we share the profits from our in-vehicle advertising. We hope that this shows our commitment to and alignment with our customers, and we hope also that it empowers them to become successful mobility entrepreneurs.

Do you feel the lack of African car manufacturers has held back car ownership on the continent?

Lack of access to credit is the main obstacle to car ownership in Africa. Lack of car manufacturing capacity is also an issue, and that is primarily driven by the lack of demand for new cars due to the lack of access to credit.

Most of the cars in Africa are old vehicles exported by developed countries, which creates other challenges for car owners including the cost of repairs, maintenance, and insurance, road safety and climate impact due to emissions. For us at Moove, we want to also try and tackle this issue by putting more new, fuel-efficient and EV vehicles on the road, whilst also being a one-stop-shop providing value-added services such as maintenance, fuel and insurance, to simplify the path to vehicle ownership for all Africans, starting with mobility entrepreneurs. Imagine a world where Africa leapfrogs the rest of the world in EVs, just like we did with mobile adoption.

Which side of the business – flexi-rental or drive-to-own – do you see as being more important as the company grows? Have you got any other plans to expand into new sectors?

Our focus is on growing the drive-to-own product.

In terms of new sectors, we have plans to expand into other vehicle classes beyond passenger cars as well as to develop additional value-added financial services for our customers that they otherwise would not be able to access.

Leave a Comment