A South African start-up, FlexClub, that matches financiers as well as vehicle drivers to cars for ride-hailing companies, closed a $1.2 million seed round led by CRE Venture Capital.
The firm will make use of the funding to add members and expand off the continent through a collaboration with Uber Mexico.
The move comes as Africa’s tech-transit continues to generate one-of-a-kind flexible and mobility solutions formed around local needs.
FlexClub proclaims itself as a “gig economy investment platform” that is creating brand-new asset classes in arising markets, according to chief executive as well as founder Tinashe Ruzane.
That asset class, for now, is ride-hail vehicles. FlexClub enables investors to go on the website and also acquire a car (inevitably taken care of and also serviced by FlexClub). The startup after that attaches that car to an Uber vehicle driver who makes use of revenues to pay a weekly rental charge.
Those fees produce monthly, fixed-rate interest earnings for the investor. The driver has the choice of buying the auto after the 12 months, with a reduced acquisition price in time.
FlexClub’s system manages the investment, rental income, as well as disbursement of funds across all groups. The start-up additionally manages insurance policy, maintenance, and also upkeep of the autos.
Ruzane envisions this as a design to fund several assets classes in arising markets– where lending options are fewer for individuals that may not have credit report.
“Our goal is to make this completely passive… where investors can invest in different kinds of assets on our platform, login to a dash, and see this is how my five cars in South Africa are doing, my vans in Mexico, my motorbikes in Indonesia — with a diversified portfolio around the world,” he stated.
FlexClub currently runs in South Africa as well as has relationships with numerous auto suppliers. It generates income by charging a percent of the rental earnings to investor club member. “We don’t disclose revenue figures but we have $3 million in assets under management in South Africa,” Ruzane stated.
Nairobi based Savannah Fund and South African angel investor Michael Jordaan joined lead investor CRE in the $1.2 million round.
“We think there’s a transformation of urban mobility in frontier markets…from Uber to scooters to motorbike markets,” says CRE Venture Capital partner Pardon Makumbe. “There’s also a massive young international employee population that is ready to work for Uber or other fulfillment and logistics companies…but the price point to own the producing asset, i.e., a car, can be prohibitive,” he said.
Makumbe highlighted informal scenarios where ride-hail chauffeurs in markets such as South Africa borrow vehicles from buddies or relative on unpredictable terms. “FlexClub is solving this supply-demand problem by productizing and standardizing the exchange between asset owners and those who use the asset,” he claimed.
FlexClub will begin work matching investors to vehicles and also Uber drivers in Mexico in April. A representative of Uber Mexico verified the partnership to TechCrunch.
FlexClub dilated of Ruzane’s time at Uber as head of vehicle solutions for EMEA– where he worked with programs to draw out the rubbing out of chauffeur, car arrangements. On why the worldwide ride-hail business really did not hold programs like FlexClub in house, “I think the board took the view that Uber should not be directly involved in the provision of vehicles,” Ruzane said.
That paved the way for him as well as partners Rudolf Vavruch and also Marlon Gallardo to co-found FlexClub in 2018. Ruzane got ideas for the startup from U.S. digital marketplace start-ups, such as Roofstock.com. He additionally emphasized arising market specific supply-demand and credit gaps as influences for establishing FlexClub.
Africa’s electronic mobility markets have actually created some unique product options for Uber and other ride-hail firms.
Uber Africa and also Taxify have likewise signed up with start-ups such as Nigeria’s Gokada as well as Uganda’s Safeboda to use motorbike and tuk-tuk ride-hail solutions in Africa– adjusting to typical use of 2 as well as 3 wheel taxis on the continent.
Those sub-sectors are also on the table for FlexClub, according to Chief Executive Officer Tinashe Ruzane. “We’re starting with cars…but expect to move to other asset classes affecting gig workers in emerging markets, including other transit options,” he stated.