We Just Turned 2!

“I’m just a man with a million light bulbs”

That’s a phrase I often used to describe myself while I was Cofounder and Creative Director at a previous startup.

In 2015, I wrote about an idea. An online marketplace that would provide charter, sales, recruitment, and general support to the oil and gas industry in West Africa and called it MVCharter. Between then and 2017, I put in a lot of effort into making this idea a success but after a few failed trials, I gave up on it.

2018 brought with it the inspiration to try again, this time using a new name: MVXchange. It worked! Our purpose was to improve the use of locally owned offshore support vessels by vessel charterers in the oil and gas industry, while creating value in Africa’s maritime sector. Then we got to work and launched MVXchange in March 2019. Today, our focus has changed, but our core motivation remains the same; impact economic growth in Africa.

2020 came with our first anniversary, the pandemic, and several challenges for our fledgling business. We had the perfect excuse to fail. In fact, our flagship product, MVXoffshore (now MVXenergi), almost went under but we stayed strong, motivated, and agile in the face of disheartening economic conditions, dwindling revenues, and an unprecedented global health crisis.

Despite the challenges of 2020, we had some exciting wins:

  • Launched MVXtransit.com
  • Joined Founders Factory Africa accelerator program
  • Started pilot partnership with Standard Bank/Stanbic IBTC
  • Launched MVXtrade pilot and partnered with a Fintech
  • Launched ‘Crystal ball’ our in-house admin dashboard
  • Developed a machine learning model to automate MVXtransit commercial quotes.
  • Developed ‘Tania’ the WhatsApp chatbot for MVXtransit
  • Surpassed 500 charter days & $5.6m in transaction value with MVXenergi.com since launch.
  • Figured out MVXchange’s raison d’être.

The launch of MVXtransit was our aha! moment. This product grew our goal into being the global best at using technology and A1 customer experience to connect businesses in developing markets with international trade. It will be a long and challenging journey, but we’re ready to make it happen.

MVXchange is working hard to build the best work place in Africa. We’re hiring the best people we can afford, giving them the right tools and work environment, and investing in their development. We know that a fulfilled and happy workforce drives excellence and sustainable growth.

Today, we celebrate our 2nd year in business, while keenly preparing for the next. We’ve lined up our priorities for the coming year, and they include:

  • Drive 5-star employee experience
  • Drive 5-star customer experience
  • Drive rapid partnership onboarding
  • Expedite internal and external technology adoption
  • Launch Sub-Saharan Africa expansion pilot-program through regional partnerships

Trade is critical to powering economic growth, creating good jobs, raising living standards, and ultimately building a prosperous African future. That’s why we’re working on MVXtrade, our digital trade finance product currently in pilot-phase. With this product, we’ll support existing and new customers with working capital to grow intra-African and international trade orders.

MVXenergi will continue to operate as a revenue-generating business unit, but we’ll be giving more attention to MVXtransit and MVXtrade.

We can’t solve every problem in African trade, but we’re committed to helping our community of customers by:

  • Providing efficient logistics for imports into and exports out of Africa.
  • Building payment platforms and offering working capital to African businesses to aid their trade efforts.
  • Connecting African exporters and importers to international and intra-African enterprises through a trade marketplace
  • Improving intra-African trade with access to a database with information on businesses in Africa. This depository of information will provide transparency and speed up intra-African trade transactions.

2020 is a year to remember for us all. However, we wouldn’t have made it to our second anniversary without the resilience and passion of some special MVXers that braved the storm: Damilola, Tobi, Korede, Ebenezer, Ellasaid, Sayo, Oamien, Temidayo, Bamike, Eric, Fisayo, Samuel and Deborah. To every MVXer; thank you for trusting MVXchange with your careers.

To our investors, advisors, partners and customers that trusted, guided and encouraged us every step of the way, we are grateful for your support. Our adventure has just begun.

Cheers to a phenomenal year ahead!

Tonye Membere-Otaji

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

MVXchange Inc.

MVX is a tech-powered end-to-end trade company, financing transactions and handling shipments for SMEs around Africa.