MIT graduates Adetayo Bamiduro and Chinedu Azodoh have created a business in Lagos that will employ Nigerians and deliver goods in less than three hours!
In the US, countless purchases are made online and shipped door to door relatively easily, but in places without zip codes and organization, like Nigeria, the process is infinitely more complicated. About 50 percent of package deliveries in Nigeria are late.
The e-commerce industry has grown substantially in Africa, but many parts of the cities aren’t mapped out on GPS, so delivery from the e-commerce transportation hub to the customer’s doorstep, or “last-mile delivery”, slows down the whole process.
Bamiduro and Azodoh created Metro Africa Xpress (MAX), an app to help deliveries reach customers faster. The app connects motorcyclists to e-commerce companies, and eases the last mile delivery with a combination of Google maps data and the motorcyclists’ street savvy.
These drivers are called “MAX Delivery Champions”, and as of March, the team of 23 has delivered an average of 150 packages a day in Lagos, delivering everything from passports to clothes to $200,000 in cash.
Some of these “champions” are married with kids. Some are migrants who fled other parts of Nigeria from the terrorist group, Boko Haram. All of them are paid twice the salary of any motorcycle dispatch service in Lagos, $200 a month or more.
Bamiduro and Azodoh have presented MAX as a commercial enterprise to investors, but they say they see it as a social impact company, as they try to reduce Nigeria’s high youth unemployment rate. Many of their drivers are receiving money directly into a bank account for the first time.
Bamiduro says working for MAX can help change the mindset of Africans: “The only way to eliminate poverty is to give people an opportunity to earn their money, not get handouts or freebies,” he says. “We want our drivers to know: It’s OK to be a MAX champion for now, but we want you to save money and say, in two years, get a college degree or a certification that allows you to get a white collar job.”
For Nigeria, he says, “We’re a stepping stone for a brighter future.”