Microsoft holds fireside chat with MAX, Flutterwave, and Riby

The fireside chat was to better expound to the public the different ways in which Microsoft has been partnering with startups to improve their operations and increase revenue.

Microsoft had announced earlier in June that it would be laying off about 7,800 employees

One of the aims of the fireside chat was to better expound to the public the different ways in which Microsoft has been partnering with these startups to improve their operations and increase revenue. All this through the Microsoft 4Afrika programme.

For the past five years, Microsoft’s 4Afrika programme has invested time and money into the digital transformation of Africa – providing grants, upskilling workers, educating people, mentoring and training startups and NGOs, and working with African businesses on the ground to support them in their endeavours.

The three startups feature on Tuesday were MAX.ng, a motorcycle delivery and ride hailing platform; Flutterwave, a payments infrastructure company; and Riby, a financial services platform that digitises co-operatives.

One of the highlights of the fireside chat was Chinedu Azodo, co-founder of MAX, sharing interesting figures and stats around his startup’s operations.

According to him, 70% of MAX's riders after 7 PM are women. He added that so far, the company has been able to do about $100,000 in revenue, with the average rider (or MAX champion as they are called) taking home between 120,000 to 150,000 monthly usually three times what they would normally earn before joining the platform.

What’s more is that Microsoft has been instrumental to MAX’s growth through strategic mentoring and training.

Alami Abolore, CEO of Riby, also shared his startup’s story, highlighting how much Riby has been able to change how previously unbanked people interact with financial services.

The fintech startup has, in the process, been able to bring people who normally would have nothing to do with banks into the fold by digitising their local cooperative schemes, then providing them with bank accounts and access to financial services in the process. This way, Riby meets the people where they are, instead of bidding them to come closer from afar.

For Flutterwave, as represented by Azeez Oluwafemi, Vice President of Product Engineering, the highlight has been the startup’s ability to give Nigerian creatives, remote workers, freelancers, etc. the opportunity to finally receive payment from outside the country with ease.

According to Djiba Diallo, Innovation Lead, Microsoft 4Afrika, “Startups are very dear to Microsoft’s heart – through our own origin story, and through our experiences where we have engaged with startups to understand the challenges they encounter and supported them to bridge some of these gaps. It’s core to our mission of empowering every person and organization on the planet to achieve more.”

Microsoft thinks there is a need to fine-tune the guidance and support it offers and continues to offer over time, guidance that will unlock several significant benefits on a micro and macro level.

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