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Uber Set to Propel African Startup Moove with Multi-Million Dollar Investment

Published February 27, 2024
4 months ago

In an era where innovation and technology are reshaping the transportation landscape, Uber Technologies Inc. is poised to make a significant investment in an African startup that promises to transform vehicle financing across the continent. The target of this investment is Moove, a company that emerged from the vibrant streets of Lagos in 2020 with a mission to democratize vehicle ownership, especially for ride-hailing service drivers who face barriers to financial access.

Uber's potential backing forms part of an expansive funding round that could shore up as much as $100 million, equivalent to approximately R1.93 billion. The influx of capital from this round, which Uber intends to join alongside other investors, is expected to propel Moove's enterprise value to an estimated $750 million—a sharp increase from its pre-funding valuation of about $650 million.

Sources privy to the development disclosed this information but chose to remain anonymous as negotiations are currently behind closed doors. It's worth noting that the funding round is not yet finalized, and the final investment sum may fluctuate between $75 million and $100 million, subject to the final agreement terms.

Both Uber and Moove have maintained confidentiality, with representatives declining to comment on the ongoing discussions. Nevertheless, the potential deal underscores Uber's strategic intentions in Africa—a continent that stands as the global frontrunner in population growth and burgeoning technology adoption.

This isn't Moove's first bout of attention from heavyweights in the investment world. In August of the previous year, the startup successfully closed a $76 million equity and debt round that counted industry giants BlackRock Inc. and Mubadala Investment Co. among its participants, establishing a valuation of roughly $550 million at the time.

Moove's specialization lies in a proprietary credit-scoring system that offers vehicle financing solutions to its clientele, comprising mainly drivers associated with ride-hailing services, as well as those in logistics and delivery. By allowing drivers to bankroll new vehicles using a portion of their weekly earnings, Moove has cemented a synergistic partnership with Uber, which remains a dominant player in the global ride-hailing market.

Co-founders Ladi Delano and Jide Odunsi, both British-born Nigerians, conceptualized Moove with a vision that tackles a significant challenge in their native country and, more broadly, Africa. With Lagos as the launching pad, Moove has since expanded its operations beyond Nigeria to encompass territories including the UK, the UAE, and India.

Uber's investment in Moove could be substantially more than a fiscal endorsement—it symbolizes a belief in African entrepreneurship and innovation in a landscape once underrepresented in the global tech ecosystem. The move is akin to Uber placing a well-calculated bet on Africa's digital and demographic dividends, aligning itself with the success of Moove, which shares a kindred spirit with unicorns like Flutterwave and Interswitch, standing as testament to the potential locked within the African tech sphere.

Analysts eye the investment as a strategic pivot that could unlock new growth chapters for Uber while catalyzing Moove's expansion in Africa and beyond. The tech ecosystem in Africa continues to flourish, with fintech, ride hailing, and digital entertainment sectors leveraging the relative absence of traditional infrastructure to innovate and scale rapidly.

Should the deal come to fruition, it will not only enshrine Moove's status as a heavyweight in the African tech industry but will also signify a broader shift—a global recognition of Africa as fertile ground for tech investments and the birthplace of future unicorns.

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