Unveiling the Max Mafia: Meet the Power Players
By now you’ve probably seen previous TechCabal pieces on Paystack Mafia and Opay mafia. These spotlight pieces are focused on innovative companies that are not only the leading technological solutions creators in their fields of play but are also building exceptional teams. These team members have gone on to build other innovative solutions or are managing their own superstar teams in various global organizations.
This current spotlight feature is on the mobility solutions provider Metro Africa Xpress (MAX). MAX was founded on the principle of helping to create ease and accessibility for everyone. The main goal of the company is to transform Africa’s driver economy by democratizing access to vehicles, services, and financial happiness. In other words, MAX is making mobility safe, affordable, accessible, and sustainable using high-performance technologies and operators. To meet this goal effectively, they have gone from being a motorcycle-based delivery startup to a ride-hailing app, and now to a vehicle subscription and financing service for drivers. These successful pivots have been spurred by their interactions with customers and the data and insights culled from these interactions.
Success breeds success and as MAX excels by innovating and adapting to customer needs they’re also cultivating a team of change-makers and innovators who help others solve problems. According to Shedrack Ajaegbu, a former engineer, while at MAX, “I had the opportunity to work on challenging projects that taught me the importance of effective communication and teamwork, as well as how to adapt to changing circumstances and make quick decisions. Moving forward, I apply these lessons by always seeking out new challenges and opportunities for growth, and by constantly striving to improve my communication and teamwork skills.”
This spirit of change and growth infects and extends to many current and former MAX employees. Former employees have gone on to extend this culture in various ways that are beneficial to multiple communities. Now let me introduce you to some of these former employees and their current trajectory and innovative solutions.
Role at MAX: Engineer
After MAX: Founder of Aprender Inglés Americano
Initially starting as a Teaching Assistant, Cody built himself a long career in software engineering before going back to education and helping students through tech. While at MAX he built custom metrics applications and aided the company in their participation at Techstars ’15.
After MAX he has found a passion for teaching again and helping students. He initially founded MaisonDev, an edtech platform for software developers in Vietnam. Now he runs Aprender Inglés Americano, an English Language school for adult Spanish speakers. His goal with this school is to produce students fluent enough in the English language to use it as a tool to better their lives. Their revolutionary method of teaching does away with traditional English learning methods and they use fluency blocks instead. Traditional grammar rules tend to produce literate but non-conversational speakers. With the fluency block method, students acquire useful conversational skills in addition to literacy, which creates better language users.
Role at MAX: Engineer
After MAX: Cofounder & CTO Ziga
Shedrack came into MAX excited to be part of a company making a positive impact on people’s lives. At MAX he helped build MetroGov which is a platform for governments and organizations to identify, monitor, and tax commercial transportation, and also the MAX riding app when the company still functioned as a ride-hailing service.
His current company, Ziga is a fintech startup that is focused on helping Nigerian businesses and individuals send money across the globe. According to Shedrack, the vision at Ziga is to create a world where everyone has access to affordable, reliable, and convenient financial services, regardless of where they live. “We believe that financial inclusion is key to driving economic growth and reducing poverty, and we are committed to using technology to create positive change in the world,” he said.
Role at MAX: Head of Riders Network Growth
After MAX: Partner at Ventures platform
Kayode was responsible for the onboarding and growth of riders in MAX Delivery. He managed the partnerships and relationships with the riders making sure to maintain a mutually beneficial work environment for MAX and its partners/riders.
Post MAX, Kayode has continued to create strategic partnerships and offer up his expertise to help rising startups. Working as a Startup Adviser at Ventures Platform, he offered young startups much-needed guidance on business development. He continues to mentor in various capacities including serving as a mentor for the African Entrepreneurship Award (AEA) and is now a partner at Ventures Platform offering investment and portfolio support.
Role at MAX: Manager, City Operations
After MAX: Co-founded myStash
As a manager at MAX, Wale acquired extensive leadership experience and skills by managing relationships across departments. He was in charge of managing operations across various departments and facilitating the smooth running of these operations. With myStash, he’s helping Nigerians find financial freedom through savings and better money management.
Role at MAX: Product Manager
After MAX: Co-founded PHARMARUN
Funmi oversaw product development and management at MAX. Now she serves as the Chief Product Officer for a healthtech startup. Unsurprising for a former MAX employee, her current startup is changing accessibility to healthcare through logistics and finance solutions. PHARMARUN makes finding, financing, and delivering medication a seamless and quick process on its platform. This startup solves essential healthcare problems and improves the lives of Nigerians as a whole.
Role at MAX: Lead Software Engineer
After MAX: Engineering lead at B54
Kalada Kienka gained valuable skills and insights as a lead software engineer at MAX.NG, which he now brings to his other roles. He currently works as an engineering lead at B54, a Nigerian fintech startup. With a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Shaw University and over five years of software engineering experience, Kalada has spent his time working with various technologies such as PHP, Node.js, MongoDB, and Java. He has also worked as a software engineer at Thehuddle.nl, CLANE, Konga Online Shopping Ltd, and as a research assistant at the Cybercenter of Purdue University. He is passionate about web development, e-commerce, and data science.