TechCrunch hand-picked the 15 greatest companies from Europe and beyond for the Startup Battlefield in London and Max from Nigeria put African innovation firmly on the map.
Metro Africa Xpress (or MAX, for short), founded by Adetayo Bamiduro and his co-founder Chinedu Azodoha is a last-mile delivery service for urban Africa based in Lagos, Nigeria. They presented in front of multiple groups of industry leaders serving competing for £30,000 and the highly coveted Disrupt Cup in London.
The MAX service gives merchants a way to have their goods delivered to customers within three hours through a platform that can use an API the company built, as well as through text messaging and other platforms. Merchants summon MAX couriers through the platform and MAX charges the merchants based on distance instead of weight and other factors that logistics companies often use. In addition, traditional logistics companies currently can’t offer that kind of speed, which is largely the focus of MAX, Azodoh said.
Max want to enable retailers to grow by giving them the tools to actually deliver their goods — which is a natural precursor to growing, you’d expect. On the e-commerce side, one of the reasons it hasn’t hit the penetration rate that is seen in the UK and the United States is that there isn’t a good infrastructure for delivery, he said.
After hours of deliberations, TechCrunch editors pored over the judges’ notes and narrowed the list down to four finalists: artificial intelligence music composition technology Jukedeck, freelancer managing platform Lystable, last-mile delivery service for urban Africa MAX and product marketing monitoring service for retail stores Yoobic.
The winner was Jukedeck, a platform that lets users create custom, cheap, royalty-free soundtracks for their videos and/or podcasts, all without any musical talent. Users simply choose a tempo, mood, style and the length of the track and Jukedeck does all the heavy lifting.
Recent Appsafrica Innovation Award finalist SimbaPay was also proudly representing Africa in London. The digital money transfer provider that enables Africans living abroad to seamlessly open bank accounts in Africa using its app . They make the process of sending & receiving money 100% electronic hence eliminating middle men and agents and as a result reduce the cost of sending money to Africa from 12% to 3%. SimbaPay were also the first company & app to enable Kenyans living abroad pay bills via M-Pesa Pay Bill without having an M-Pesa phone number.