Kenyan startup Mazi Mobility has launched its electric motorcycle fleet with backing from global venture builder Satgana.
Mazi Mobility is using motorcycles, locally known as “bodas”, to accelerate the transition to efficient, affordable and clean transport in Nairobi.
Its flagship motorcycle, the Magnus 3000 (M3K), is a better alternative to petrol-driven bodas, while the startup is also introducing battery swapping stations that provide on-demand energy, reducing transportation costs by 50 per cent.
The MK3 offers a choice between a single and dual battery, capable of up to 70 kilometres and 140 kilometres of range respectively, while the startup’s Battery-as-a-Service (BaaS) model will see Mazi lease batteries to boda boda riders on a per-use fee.
“We are also developing a smart swapping station network to cater to the rider’s biggest concern – range anxiety. Through sensor technology, the Internet of Things (IoT) and our algorithms we are optimising route selection in a bid to avoid minimal disturbance to an ongoing trip,” said Jesse Forrester, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) at Mazi Mobility.
“At Mazi, we believe that Africans should be able to move efficiently, and affordably across cities at less than the price of personal vehicle ownership while reducing CO2 emissions. What industry is better to see this change than the boda one? Mazi is taking a long approach to mobility, we don’t want to just have the same status quo but with electric vehicles. At Mazi we move people, data and things.”
The startup is still in the piloting phase, but has already established its first battery swapping station and logged over 100 swaps.
“Boda operators have been excited about the possibility of owning an electric motorcycle. Our M3K is especially eye-catching due to our bold color choices and sufficient specs. In fact, we are pacing ourselves to meet demand,” Forrester said.
Supporting Mazi on their journey is Satgana, a global venture builder on a mission to launch and fund responsible startups aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which has provided the startup with a minority investment and hands-on venture-building support.
“The urgent need to decarbonise our economies places transportation at the cusp of a fundamental shift towards electric solutions, and mobility in Africa is ripe for disruption. As such, Satgana is beyond excited to be involved in the launch of Mazi and truly believes in the founding team’s ability to make it happen,” said the founder and CEO of Satgana.
“Since day one, we have been impressed by Jesse’s vision and execution capability. As a venture builder, we are humbled to be able to support Mazi in its mission to make urban transportation sustainable while empowering low-income drivers.”
Forrester said Mazi would soon be raising further external capital, and also planned to expand beyond its Nairobi headquarters.
“We are planning to grow over the next few years across East Africa and eventually to the continent and beyond. Moreover, we see opportunities in various modes of transport including tuktuks, 14-seaters, buses and long-distance travel,” he said. “However, for now we are essentially focused on boda bodas.”