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FlexClub secures $5m funding to scale its unique car subscription marketplace

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FlexClub Founders; Tinashe Ruzane, Marlon Gallardo and Rudolf Vavruch (Source: JNPR)

As consumer behaviour has been reshaped by the Covid-19 pandemic, e-commerce has fast become the new ‘high street’, with customers now buying everything from groceries and medicine to electronics and even houses all online.  While vehicle purchases are not excluded from these quickly shifting consumer preferences for online retail, the traditional process of buying, insuring and financing a car still remains a major challenge to building a simple digital car shopping experience, given the multiple parties required for the transaction – until FlexClub arrived that is.

Established in 2019, by co-founders Marlon Gallardo, Rudolf Vavruch and Tinashe Ruzane, FlexClub is an online marketplace that connects customers looking for flexible access to long-term cars with its partners offering car subscriptions. FlexClub’s innovative rewards technology enhances the experience for its members, while reducing risk for its partners.

Through this technology, FlexClub is able to assess the risk profile of its members using several alternative data sources and rewards its members for responsible vehicle usage.

Since it collaborated with Uber in Mexico and South Africa in 2019, helping their community of drivers subscribe for cars that become cheaper to purchase every month through rewards, the FlexClub model of all inclusive car subscriptions has gained significant traction. Their unique car subscription marketplace is now also being extended to retail consumers, who are also rewarded for safer driving while subscribing for the vehicle thanks to their ‘Club Rewards Program’.

And it’s not just prospective vehicle buyers who love the FlexClub approach; several leading global tech investors are recognising the value and scalability of the model, which resulted in FlexClub attracting a further US$5 million in equity and debt funding in 2020, significantly bolstering the $US1.2 million it had already raised in 2019.

According to FlexClub co-founder and CEO, Tinashe Ruzane, their latest fundraising round, led by Kindred Ventures, early backers of global technology businesses such as Uber, Postmates, Virgin Hyperloop and Coinbase, demonstrates the recognition by some of the world’s foremost venture investors of the potential for the FlexClub model and the confidence in the strength of its leadership team deeply experienced in mobility.

“With seasoned and highly respected VC investors like Kindred Ventures, CRE Venture Capital and Endeavor getting behind our mission, we’re well placed to usher in the future of how people get cars in markets like Mexico and South Africa” Ruzane says, “and the support from prominent angel investors, like Matt Mullenweg (founder of WordPress), Federico Ranero (COO of KAVAK), Tariq Zaid (formerly of Shopify and Getaround) and Ron Pragides (formerly of Twitter and Salesforce), further validates the incredible global opportunity for our technology to reimagine commerce in the automotive industry.”

Accordingto Ruzane, the expected transformation of how people acquire their vehicles is not unlike the evolution that happened over the past decade in other consumer sectors such as music retail.

“10 years ago, most people would struggle to imagine a world in which CDs were not the dominant driver of music industry revenues,” he explains, “but today, thanks to the likes of Spotify and Apple Music, streaming accounts for more than 80% of all music revenues generated in the U.S. The industry successfully transitioned from product-led distribution to service-led distribution.” Ruzane is adamant that car subscriptions will drive the same radical transformation of the automotive industry distribution model and he believes that the early traction found by FlexClub with its unique car subscription marketplace points to a much larger opportunity to catalyze this transformation for its partners and members.

“Our partners recognise the opportunity to work with FlexClub to look beyond just driving unit sales of vehicles and transition towards building deeper relationships with customers through this service-driven approach. All while diversifying away from the reliance the auto industry now has on consumer vehicle financing to drive revenue,” he explains, “and the buy-in we have seen from partners like Avis and other major automotive distributors, demonstrates that car subscriptions are finally emerging into the automotive zeitgeist.”

Ruzanesays that FlexClub’s partners are quite diverse, ranging from small fleet owners to multinational fleet operators looking to easily launch car subscription offers on the FlexClub marketplace without requiring significant investment in new technology, infrastructure or operations. Just two years ago, FlexClub’s partners were predominantly individuals looking to earn passive income from owning one or two cars offered on subscription to members. A year ago, private debt funds entered the scene with an interest in the yield opportunity from funding car subscription fleets. Today, partners on FlexClub also include major brands like Avis with tens of thousands of vehicles in their fleet and the operational wherewithal to scale across multiple cities on the FlexClub marketplace.

“Our members are drawn to the fact that, in just a few clicks, they can get flexible access to a car that suits their needs in under a week. Members can choose vehicles from an array of reputable partners, without the need for large upfront deposits, high balloon payment obligations, or rigid long-term vehicle finance contracts; and they always have the freedom to buy the car, return it, or swap it at any time, without incurring any penalties or unexpected costs.”

“By enhancing and simplifying the car shopping experience for our members, and better managing the risk for our partners, FlexClub is supporting the redesign of the auto commerce landscape,” Ruzane concludes, “and we firmly believe that car subscriptions will be one of the fastest-growing segments of automotive retail over the next decade, especially as a growing number of car rental groups, car manufacturers, car dealer groups, leasing companies and even vehicle financiers start to invest more meaningfully in launching their own car subscription offers across the globe. FlexClub is a powerful bridge between the fleets our partners control and the digital car shopping experienceo our members desire.”

 

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Press Release

InnoPower Launches Digital Impact Network to Elevate Minority Business Success in Indiana

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Innopower, powered by Metaimpact’s multi-stakeholder platform, is proud to announce the public launch of Indy Biz Pass, an innovative digital ecosystem designed to spur economic growth and wealth creation within Indiana’s minority business community. This cutting-edge initiative marks a significant milestone in providing underrepresented entrepreneurs enhanced access to essential resources for business success.

Indy Biz Pass is built on Metaimpact’s robust digital infrastructure. Metaimpact enables organizations to design, build, and deploy digital impact networks where multiple stakeholders can act on shared goals to create collective impact. 

Indy Biz Pass is the first network of its kind to focus specifically on empowering Black, Brown, and other minority-owned businesses in Indiana. Funded with philanthropic support from JPMorgan Chase through a grant to Sagamore Institute and operated in coordination with Innopower, Indy Biz Pass is a new resource to help connect minority business owners with a comprehensive network of support, including funding partners, industry experts, educational institutions, and talent development resources. 

For the past year, the focus has been on building a strong network of supporting organizations. Current contributors include the Indy Urban League, Business Equity Indy, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Sagamore Institute, and many more. By joining Indy Biz Pass, these organizations can make their services widely discoverable to all entrepreneurs, actively contribute to pivotal initiatives, and gain a comprehensive understanding of the work being done across the state. This collaborative environment is crucial in driving forward the collective mission of empowering minority business ownership and success. 

Today’s public launch of the impact network marks a crucial next step by providing access to the entrepreneurs the network aims to support. Understanding the dynamic needs of modern business owners, the impact network is accessible via a specially designed web app. This ensures that resources and collaboration opportunities are just a tap away, facilitating real-time business development and networking. 

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“With Indy Biz Pass, we are setting a new standard for how we support and elevate minority businesses,” said Emil Ekiyor, Founder and CEO of Innopower. “This network is more than just a platform; it’s a community dedicated to fostering success and growth for Black and Brown entrepreneurs across Indiana.

Scott McCorkle, CEO of Metaimpact, added, “Our digital infrastructure is uniquely poised to unite diverse stakeholders and resources in a holistic, impactful manner. We’re excited to see how this network transforms the landscape of minority entrepreneurship in the Hoosier state.”

JPMorgan Chase’s commitment to this initiative underscores its dedication to fostering inclusive economic growth and supporting diverse communities. “One of our top priorities at JPMorgan Chase is ensuring communities and businesses have the resources needed to break down barriers and access economic opportunities,” said Phylicia Manley, Vice President and Program Officer in Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase. “Through Sagamore Institute, in coordination with Metaimpact and Innopower, we’ve been able to assist in strengthening an ecosystem dedicated to helping diverse business owners find access to capital and network support.” 

Entrepreneurs can access Indy Biz Pass at network.indybizpass.com. Organizations seeking to make their services discoverable on Indy Biz Pass can request to join the network at www.metaimpact.com/impact-network/indy-biz-pass/

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Press Release

Beta Glass Partners Wecyclers to Launch Cullet Trucks, Enhancing Recycling and Sustainability Efforts

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Beta Glass PLC, a member of the Frigoglass Group and the leading manufacturer of glass packaging, crowns and crates in West and Central Africa, has partnered with Wecyclers, an innovative waste management company, to launch a fleet of cullet trucks. This strategic initiative aims to enhance recycling efforts, promote sustainability, and reinforce environmental responsibility across Nigeria.

The official launch event took place on Wednesday, 22nd May 2024, at the Beta Glass headquarters in Lagos, marking a significant milestone and commitment by both parties towards a more sustainable future for Nigerians.

The new trucks will be instrumental in collecting and transporting cullet, the term for bottles and jars for recycling, from various collection points to the local production facilities of Beta Glass. By integrating these specialised trucks into the supply chain, both companies aim to increase the volume of recycled glass used in manufacturing, thereby reducing the quantity of virgin raw materials and minimising the environmental footprint.

Key Benefits of the Partnership:

  • Enhanced Recycling Efficiency: The cullet trucks will streamline the collection process, making it easier to gather larger quantities of glass for recycling,
  • Environmental Impact: By using more recycled glass in production, Beta Glass will reduce its carbon footprint.
  • Economic Opportunities: This initiative will create new job opportunities in the recycling sector, supporting local communities.
  • Public Awareness: The partnership aims to raise awareness about the importance of recycling and environmental stewardship among the Nigerian populace.

Commenting on this new partnership, Darren Bennett-Voci, CEO of Beta Glass, stated: “Our partnership with Wecyclers represents a significant step forward in our commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility. The launch of the cullet trucks will not only enhance our recycling capabilities but also set a benchmark for the industry. We are excited to see the positive impact this initiative will have on our environment and our community.”

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Olawale Adebiyi, CEO of Wecyclers, further added: “Wecyclers is dedicated to providing innovative recycling solutions that empower communities and protect our environment. Partnering with Beta Glass to launch the cullet trucks is a testament to our shared vision of a sustainable future. We look forward to working together to foster a recycling and environmental awareness culture across Nigeria.”

The launch event featured a demonstration of the cullet trucks in operation, along with presentations from key stakeholders about the anticipated benefits of the initiative.

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Press Release

The Gender Mainstreaming for Climate Entrepreneurship

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The Gender Mainstreaming Programme 2024 organized by the Nigeria Climate Innovation Centre aimed to close the gender gap in climate entrepreneurship. NCIC achieves this objective by collaborating with industry players, and stakeholders to drive and gain support for women in the industry, across Nigeria and the world at large. WeClimeEquallyWorkshop and the G-FIVE Business Accelerator by NCIC are the two instruments the organization uses to foster gender equality and climate-focused entrepreneurship. 

The Gender and Climate Workshop Event 

This Year’s WeClimeEquallyWorkshop 2024 with the theme: Equity and Sustainability Towards a Prosperous Future was held on Thursday 21, March 2024 at Four Points by Sheraton. The welcome address was led by Mr. Adamu, the Chief Operating Officer who represented Bankole Oloruntoba, the Chief Executive Officer, of NCIC. He emphasized the work of NCIC in championing projects that drive gender equality and entrepreneurship.

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 Mrs. Titi Oshodi, Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Climate Change and Circular Economy rendered the Goodwill Message and raised the need for effective communication to spur the needed change as there are many communication nuances in the Nigerian landscape. Rendering the speech of His Excellency Babajide Sanwolu, Governor of Lagos state, Mrs. Oshodi plauded that the WeClimEqualityWorkshop provides a pivotal platform to exchange knowledge and amplify women’s voices and ensure their meaningful participation in climate and circular economy because there is a link between gender, women, and marginalization is essential.

The workshop also featured 4 expert paper presentations delivered by industry experts from KPMG, FC4SLagos, Fate Foundation, and academia. In addition, attendees were treated to an intriguing panel session on applying a gender lens to the triple Es of Employment, Environment, and Entrepreneurship. Following hours of interactions, attendees were allowed an opportunity to co-create practical strategies to infuse gender lens in organizational programming, policies, and framework. 

Green Females in Venture Enterprise Business Accelerator 

Building on some key outcomes of the #WeClimeEqually Workshop, 50 climate-focused women entrepreneurs entered a 4-day hybrid business accelerator program delivered in partnership with the Lagos Business School Sustainability Center. Core modules of the accelerator centered around sustainability, innovation, legal regulatory frameworks, business management, and grant writing amongst others. 

Additional program support included a nursery for mothers, accommodation, a virtual learning platform for long-distance learners, and bonding activities. Participants were also certified at the end of the program. The Gender Mainstreaming for Climate Entrepreneurship is sponsored by Climate KIC; Europe’s leading Climate Innovation and Irish Aid. To learn more about the Nigeria Climate Innovation Center Visit the website here https://nigeriacic.org/about-us/

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