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Lightning Motorcycles unveils Strike e-moto, with up to 200 mile range

Posted by on Mar 28, 2019 in TC | 0 comments

Lightning Motorcycles finally unveiled the electric vehicle it had been teasing for months.

With a $12,000 to $19,000 price range, the Strike electric motorcycle has options with a 200 mile range, 150 mph top speed, and 35 minute DC fast charge times.

The new machine has a more upright riding position and friendlier price-tag than Lightning’s debut LS-218 — a $38,888, 218 mph superbike touted as the world’s fastest production street motorcycle.

With the LS-218, Lightning had previously hung its helmet on a niche (and lower sales volume) hyper-performance market.

The startup previewed the Strike as a model that would offer wider market appeal and accessibility from a rider and price-point.

This comes in a year where EV startups are facing more competition on specs and pricing, and big motorcycle manufacturers will feel more pressure to go electric.

The Strike offers 3 variants and price ranges, with its $19,998 Carbon sporting a 20 kWh battery, the highest range of up to 200 miles, and 150 mph top speed. The base $12,998 Standard Strike has half the battery power, a highway/city range of 70 to 100 miles, and top speed of 135 mph.

Lightning has been offering peeks, and taking orders for the Strike, for several months now. Deliveries begin in July.

For the last several years, e-motorcycle startups have worked to produce models that close gaps on price, distance, charge-times and performance with gas-motorcycles. They’ve also carried hopes to rejuvenate new motorcycles sales with a younger generation.

The U.S. motorcycle industry has been in pretty bad shape since the recession. New sales dropped by roughly 50 percent since 2008, with sharp declines in ownership by everyone under 40. The exception is women, who have become the only growing motorcycle ownership segment.

None of the big name producers — Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, BMW—have offered a production electric street motorcycle in the U.S. Harley Davidson will enter the market this summer with its $29,000 LiveWire, which brings 3 second, 0-60 mph acceleration and 110 mile range. HD has also indicated it plans a full electric pivot, with additional e-motorcycles in the pipeline, as well as e-bicycles and scooters.

Another California startup, Zero Motorcycles, has found the widest market and model breadth, with prices starting at $8,000 on its FX model. Zero upped its game recently, unveiling a new 110 horsepower, $18,000 SR/F model with a 200 mile range, one hour charge capability, and top speed of 124 mph.

Then there’s Italy based Energica, an e-moto startup catering to the high-performance motorcycle market and marketing heavily in the U.S. The company draws R&D and support from lead investor, CRP Group, an Italian company with engineering roots supporting Formula-1 and NASCAR.

As the company looks to compete, there are two things to follow with Lightning’s new Strike. The first is the its capital position and revenue growth vis-a-vis its new, lower-priced model.

Like Tesla (in the four-wheeled world), e-moto startups, such as Zero, have struggled with their burn rates and several have ultimately forced to close down. These include Brammo,  Mission Motorcycles, and, more recently,  Alta Motors—a California EV venture backed by $45 million in VC that ceased operations in October.

Little is known about how Lightning is capitalized (Crunchbase tracks only $50K in VC) or how it’s financing the new, lower-priced Strike—as an e-moto startup with lesser sales volume than Zero and less R&D support than Energica.

That leads to thing-to-watch number-two: whether the riding (or non-riding) public takes to the Strike’s new design, performance, and price mix.

During the e-moto’s teaser phase, where little about the Strike design was revealed, I’d actually expected Lightning to debut something that was less sport-bike and more of an upright e-moto—closer to Zero’s new SR/F—with appeal to both beginners and experienced riders looking to go electric.

The sport-bike platform positions the Strike more as a competitor to Energica’s premium $22K race-inspired EGO. That’s further away from the mass-market riding audience Lightning previewed as a target for its new motorcycle.

Time, sales, and the ability for the startup to attract new VC will determine whether Lightning’s new bike will electrify would-be buyers.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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African e-commerce startup Jumia files for IPO on NYSE

Posted by on Mar 12, 2019 in africa, eCommerce, Egypt, Fundings & Exits, Ghana, Goldman Sachs, IPO, jumia, kenya, Lagos, morgan stanley, morocco, Naspers, Nigeria, online retail, Rocket Internet, Smartphones, Startup company, Startups, TC, tech startup, travel bookings, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, unicorn | 0 comments

Pan-African e-commerce company Jumia filed for an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange today, per SEC documents and confirmation from CEO Sacha Poignonnec to TechCrunch.

The valuation, share price and timeline for public stock sales will be determined over the coming weeks for the Nigeria-headquartered company.

With a smooth filing process, Jumia will become the first African tech startup to list on a major global exchange.

Poignonnec would not pinpoint a date for the actual IPO, but noted the minimum SEC timeline for beginning sales activities (such as road shows) is 15 days after submitting first documents. Lead adviser on the listing is Morgan Stanley .

There have been numerous press reports on an anticipated Jumia IPO, but none of them confirmed by Jumia execs or an actual SEC, S-1 filing until today.

Jumia’s move to go public comes as several notable consumer digital sales startups have faltered in Nigeria — Africa’s most populous nation, largest economy and unofficial bellwether for e-commerce startup development on the continent. Konga.com, an early Jumia competitor in the race to wire African online retail, was sold in a distressed acquisition in 2018.

With the imminent IPO capital, Jumia will double down on its current strategy and regional focus.

“You’ll see in the prospectus that last year Jumia had 4 million consumers in countries that cover the vast majority of Africa. We’re really focused on growing our existing business, leadership position, number of sellers and consumer adoption in those markets,” Poignonnec said.

The pending IPO creates another milestone for Jumia. The venture became the first African startup unicorn in 2016, achieving a $1 billion valuation after a $326 funding round that included Goldman Sachs, AXA and MTN.

Founded in Lagos in 2012 with Rocket Internet backing, Jumia now operates multiple online verticals in 14 African countries, spanning Ghana, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Morocco and Egypt. Goods and services lines include Jumia Food (an online takeout service), Jumia Flights (for travel bookings) and Jumia Deals (for classifieds). Jumia processed more than 13 million packages in 2018, according to company data.

Starting in Nigeria, the company created many of the components for its digital sales operations. This includes its JumiaPay payment platform and a delivery service of trucks and motorbikes that have become ubiquitous with the Lagos landscape.

Jumia has also opened itself up to traders and SMEs by allowing local merchants to harness Jumia to sell online. “There are over 81,000 active sellers on our platform. There’s a dedicated sellers page where they can sign-up and have access to our payment and delivery network, data, and analytic services,” Jumia Nigeria CEO Juliet Anammah told TechCrunch.

The most popular goods on Jumia’s shopping mall site include smartphones (priced in the $80 to $100 range), washing machines, fashion items, women’s hair care products and 32-inch TVs, according to Anammah.

E-commerce ventures, particularly in Nigeria, have captured the attention of VC investors looking to tap into Africa’s growing consumer markets. McKinsey & Company projects consumer spending on the continent to reach $2.1 trillion by 2025, with African e-commerce accounting for up to 10 percent of retail sales.

Jumia has not yet turned a profit, but a snapshot of the company’s performance from shareholder Rocket Internet’s latest annual report shows an improving revenue profile. The company generated €93.8 million in revenues in 2017, up 11 percent from 2016, though its losses widened (with a negative EBITDA of €120 million). Rocket Internet is set to release full 2018 results (with updated Jumia figures) April 4, 2019.

Jumia’s move to list on the NYSE comes during an up and down period for B2C digital commerce in Nigeria. The distressed acquisition of Konga.com, backed by roughly $100 million in VC, created losses for investors, such as South African media, internet and investment company Naspers .

In late 2018, Nigerian online sales platform DealDey shut down. And TechCrunch reported this week that consumer-focused venture Gloo.ng has dropped B2C e-commerce altogether to pivot to e-procurement. The CEO cited better unit economics from B2B sales.

As demonstrated in other global startup markets, consumer-focused online retail can be a game of capital attrition to outpace competitors and reach critical mass before turning a profit. With its unicorn status and pending windfall from an NYSE listing, Jumia could be better positioned than any venture to win on e-commerce at scale in Africa.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Nigerian fintech firm TeamApt raises $5M, eyes global expansion

Posted by on Feb 28, 2019 in africa, Asia, Banking, Canada, cellulant, ceo, CFO, Chief Information Officer, consumer finance, economy, engineer, ethiopia, Europe, Finance, flutterwave, Lagos, Mexico, money, Nigeria, online payments, paystack, POS, Series A, TC | 0 comments

Nigerian fintech startup TeamApt has raised $5.5 million in capital in a Series A round led by Quantum Capital Partners.

The Lagos based firm will use the funds to expand its white label digital finance products and pivot to consumer finance with the launch of its AptPay banking app.

Founded by Tosin Eniolorunda, TeamApt supplies financial and payment solutions to Nigeria’s largest commercial banks — including Zenith, UBA, and ALAT.

For Eniolorunda, launching the fintech startup means competing with his former employer, the later stage Nigerian tech company Interswitch.

The TeamApt founder is open about his company going head to head not only with his former employer, but other Nigerian payment gateway startups.

“Yes, we are in competition with Interswitch,” Eniolorunda said. But he also said that the Nigerian fintech startups Paystack and Flutterwave—both of which facilitate payments for businesses— are competitors as well.

TeamApt, whose name is derivative of aptitude, bootstrapped its way to its Series A by generating revenue project to project working for Nigerian companies, according to CEO Eniolorunda.

“To start, we closed a deal with Computer Warehouse Group to build a payment solution for them and that’s how we started bootstrapping,” he said. A project soon followed for Fidelity Bank Nigeria.

TeamApt now has a developer team of 40 in Lagos, according to Eniolorunda, who spent 6 years at Interswitch as developer and engineer himself, before founding the startup in 2015 .

“The 40 are out of a total staff of about 72 so the firm is a major engineering company. We build all the IP and of course use open source tools,” he said.

TeamApt’s commercial bank product offerings include Moneytor— a digital banking service for financial institutions to track transactions with web and mobile interfaces—and Monnify, an enterprise software suite for small business management.

TeamApt worked with Sterling Bank Nigeria to develop its Sterling Onepay mobile payment app and POS merchant online platform, Sterling Bank’s Chief Information Officer Moronfolu Fasinro told TechCrunch.

On performance, TeamApt claims 26 African bank clients and processes $160 million in monthly transactions, according to company data. Though it does not produce public financial results, TeamApt claimed revenue growth of 4,500 percent over a three year period.

Quantum Capital Partners, a Lagos based investment firm founded by Nigerian banker Jim Ovia, confirmed it verified TeamApt’s numbers.

“Our CFO sat with them for about two weeks,” Elaine Delaney said.

TeamApt’s results and the startup’s global value proposition factored into the fund’s decision to serve as sole-investor in the $5.5 million round.

“The problem that they’re solving might be African but the technology is universal. ‘Can it be applied to any other market?’ of course it can,” said Delaney.

Delaney will take a board seat with TeamApt “as a supportive investor,” she said.

TeamApt plans to develop more business and consumer based offerings. “We’re beginning to pilot into much more merchant and consume facing products where we’re building payment infrastructure to connect these banks to merchants and businesses,” CEO Tosin Eniolorunda said.

Part of this includes the launch of AptPay, which Eniolorunda describes as “a push payment, payment infrastructure” to “centralize…all services currently used on banking mobile apps.”

The company recently received its license from the Nigerian Central Bank to operate as a payment switch in the country.

On new markets, “Nigeria comes first. But we’re also looking at some parts of Europe. Canada is also hot on list,” said Eniolorunda.  He wouldn’t specific a country but said to look for a TeamApt expansion announcement by fourth quarter 2019.

TeamApt joins several fintech firms in Africa that announced significant rounds, expansion, or partnerships over the last year.  As covered by TechCrunch, in September 2018, Nigeria’s Paga raised $10 million and announced possible expansion in Ethiopia, Asia, and Mexico. Kenyan payment company Cellulant raised $53 million in 2018, targeted to boost its presence across Africa. And in January, Flutterwave partnered with Visa to launch the GetBarter global payment product.

The fintech space has also been the source of speculation regarding the continent’s first tech IPO on a major exchange, including Interswitch’s much anticipated and delayed public offering.

TeamApt’s CEO is open about the company’s future intent to list. “The project code name for the recent funding was NASDAQ. We’re clear about becoming a public company,” said Eniolorunda.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Will Interswitch still be the company that brings Sub-Saharan Africa its big tech windfall?

Posted by on Nov 29, 2017 in africa, Nigeria, TC | 0 comments

Nearly two years later, neither Interswitch nor any other VC backed African tech company that began in startup phase gone public.
What happened? Read More
Source: The Tech Crunch

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