These two British-born Nigerian entrepreneurs have built a $650 million mobility financing platform

BY Preta Peace Namasaba March 7, 2024 9:59 PM EDT
Jide Odunsi and Ladi Delano. Photo credit: Disrupt Africa

Due to limited access to finance for vehicle purchases, Africa has the lowest per capita car ownership in the world. Having a car can not only create a reliable source of income but also build an entire business. British-born Nigerians Ladi Delano and Jide Odunsi are democratising vehicle ownership with their digital financing platform Moove. Dubbed a mobility fintech, the entrepreneurs have created their niche sector. The growing company has since gone international and hit a $650 million valuation within only four years in business.

“The lack of access to vehicle financing is a problem faced by mobility gig economy workers and ride-hailing drivers across the world. Africa has an ecosystem of young, intelligent entrepreneurs and the continent is home to an abundance of opportunities that innovation and technology can solve. Good ideas can come from anywhere and we would love to see more African companies developing solutions that can be used to solve real-world problems in Europe and other developed markets,” Delano said about Moove’s global applicability.

Delano and Odunsi met in London while studying at the London School of Economics and SOAS­, respectively and immediately built a close friendship. They bonded over their shared experiences of growing up as the children of Nigerian immigrants. They both wanted to resolve the challenges that existed in their country of origin that had forced their parents to leave. Delano and Odunsi promised each other that they would build entrepreneurial solutions to societal problems in the hope that fewer people would have to leave Nigeria in pursuit of better opportunities.

The duo parted, pursuing dissimilar paths.

Delano withdrew from his political science degree in his second year. He founded Solidarnosc Asia, a Chinese alcoholic beverage company that made premium vodka brand Solid XS. The liquor brand went mainstream and was being distributed in over 30 cities generating $20 million in annual revenue. Delano eventually sold the company to a rival company for over $15 million. He went on to cofound Bakrie Delano Africa (BDA),  a $1 billion joint venture with the BakrieGroup of Indonesia.

On the other hand, Odunsi finalized his bachelor’s in economics with first-class honors, earned an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and a master’s of science in sustainable urban development from the University of Oxford. He worked at Goldman Sachs for seven years, ultimately becoming executive director/vice president of Macro Derivative Strategies in the Equities Division in charge of a $500 million gross investment portfolio. He was a consultant at McKinsey & Company, a project manager at Marcelle Ruth Cancer Centre & Specialist Hospital and founded Grace Lake Partners.

In 2020, Delano and Odunsi officially launched the mobility fintech company Moove in Nigeria to democratise access to vehicle ownership. They sought to tackle unemployment, financial exclusion and a lack of economic empowerment by providing vehicle financing to mobility entrepreneurs – mostly Uber drivers. The duo realized that most financial institutions did not offer financing to mobility entrepreneurs because they deemed the risk to be too high. Moreover, the demand for vehicles in Africa exceeds local production leaving millions dependent on used imported cars that are mostly in poor condition. Moove addresses all these issues.

“Just because you’re low income, it doesn’t mean you’re bad credit. If you eliminate the willingness to pay risk and focus on the ability to pay, you can identify a whole new total addressable market of high credit and good credit individuals,” Delano said of Moove’s equitable financing system

The company introduced a novel revenue-based financing model. It negotiated with its marketplace partners such as Uber to reveal the performance, trips and revenue generated by each vehicle. Moove also made an agreement that ensures it gets paid first. The company receives the money, deducts the amount owed, and then pays the remainder to the driver. The loans are repaid in weekly installments over 30, 36, or 48 months.

Headquartered in Amsterdam, Moove has since expanded its operations across Africa, the UK, the UAE, and India. The company has partnered with CFAO Motors, the largest automotive distribution network in Africa which operates in 36 countries to strengthen its industry position. It has raised more than $335 million, $150 million in equity and over $175 million in debt since its inception. With a valuation of $650 million, the mobility fintech is on its way to becoming a unicorn. Reports indicate that Uber is set to invest up to $100 million in Moove in a funding round that could bring the company’s valuation to approximately $750 million.

Moove is helping the cab-hailing service achieve its goal of becoming an all-electric platform in London by 2025. It launched Moove Charge, the first end-to-end charge experience and complete EV charging network app specifically for ride-hailing drivers to enable the transition to EVs. The company estimates that the 10,000 electric vehicles it plans to finance in London by 2025 reduce approximately 63,000 mega-tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.

Moove has facilitated over 30 million rides and generated annual recurring revenues of $90 million. Delano and Odunsi hope to build the world’s largest integrated vehicle financing platform for mobility entrepreneurs.