Mandla Lamba is a visionary who overcame jail time and dirty investments. All these obstacles make up the success story of Agilitee, an electric vehicles manufacturer on its way to provide a greener and cleaner solution for Africans.
Have you ever wondered how you could travel around freely or enjoy a new vehicle without having to contribute to the global footprint?
There’s no question about how loud the roads can get, how expensive petrol is or how technologies are damaging the World.
But, what if there was a way to enjoy innovative technologies while using environmentally friendly modes of transport that could greatly reduce pollution and save the economy’s future?
The solution to all of this could be electric vehicles, battery swapping stations and solar charging facilities, all manufactured in the south tip of the continent.
“Not many people believed it was possible for a black man to do what we have done the way we have done it,” Mandla Lamba
Agilitee a company based in South Africa, manufactures electric vehicles that use green energy off the grid instead of Eskom power that needs coal which is very pollutant to the environment.
“Not many people believed it was possible for a black man to do what we have done the way we have done it,” Mandla Lamba, the CEO of Agilitee tells FORBES AFRICA.
Agilitee seeks to bring green energy that reduces the influx of bad air by manufacturing electric vehicles using green technology.
“With our electric motorbikes, you don’t have to charge, you just get to any Agilitee Dealership and swap the battery in our many swapping stations, whereas with the car, it comes with a Wallbox charger which is powered by Solar and you can charge at the comfort of your own home,” he says
Agilitee, an electric vehicle and high-tech company is at the forefront of the 4th industrial revolution in Africa, enhancing and growing economies.
With green technology being the future, there’s no doubt that Agilitee is one of the first African electric vehicle (EV) company to go to market, with manufacturing,
reselling and producing clean driving energy solutions that will dominate in the bright years to come.
This eco-friendly company sets the industry for greatness with a team of experts constantly researching, pioneering, importing, manufacturing, and franchising, licensing electric vehicle and ecosystems technologies across the entire African continent.
“The biggest challenge was capital, it was not easy to raise because this is a new industry in Africa and being the first was the problem predominantly because we are a black-owned startup,” he says.
With only three years into their success the booming Agilitee is not wasting time as their first EV introduction took off in South Africa on the 1st of April 2021, launching their latest collection of three impressive two-wheeler electronic models.
This dealership hit the busy Cape Town city with extraordinary features and the motorbikes possessing great advantages which highlight that there is no need for oil changing, regular fuel, exhaust or noise.
These motorcycles also indicate an average of 45% in fuel savings.
The Wild Greace electronic motorcycle and the RTF motorcycle, built for personal use and city transportation have been designed to protect individuals on the national roads as well as reduce the costly maintenance expected on bikes.
Along with its impressive battery capacities, the third model referred to as the LoadEX is an electric delivery motorcycle aimed at local fast-food delivery and courier companies.
This providing a little something for everyone to enjoy.
However, these dealerships are followed by nine more flagship outlets in various parts of the country with smaller dealerships focused directly on towns and metros.
The first four-wheeler marketing is expected to be launched in 2023.
Despite all that Agilitee has accomplished it has not been an easy feat.
Their innovation may allow consumers and the world to save millions, but it has cost Lamba and the team a fortune to produce.
“The biggest challenge was capital, it was not easy to raise because this is a new industry in Africa and being the first was the problem predominantly because we are a black owned startup,” he says.
However, being a blacked owned company played some advantage with South Africa’s pro Black Economic Empowerment scheme.
Everyone wants to invest in black innovative businesses, but very few may have the right agenda.
“I remember I approached a lot of people I know to invest in Agilitee but none of them budged, the next thing we were offered R360 million by some politicians some of which were named in the state capture commission and we decided to turn them down,” he says unable to reveal any names.
“It is hard to turn down R360 million [$25 million] when you don’t even know how you will pay your employees at the end of the month but by the Grace of God we managed,” says Lamba.
Lamba, COO Bonisile Roberts and Chairwoman Kriekie Du Plessis say they further turned down another R700 million ($48 million) after realizing that it was not in the best interest of the long terms goals of the company.
In total Lamba and his team declined a total of $73 million.
An amount which might have cost them a slow and steady start, but with the right fuel, they drifted in the right direction.
They managed to raise capital off Facebook from ordinary people who bought shares in the early stages.
“Our philosophy is that when Agilitee finally does it’s IPO, these ordinary shareholders would sell to institutional investors at a huge premium to initial that would be historic and completely an opposite of what currently happens in the financial markets,” says Lamba.
Since then the Agilitee brand, identified as the mode of transportation for the future, has successfully obtained several partnerships with investment companies such as Vertiyhurst, ABSA Bank, Capitec Bank and most importantly eBiokeGo Limited-one of India’s smartest electric mobility platform offering and enhancing India’s electronic mode of transport.
Expanding the business, Agilitee has also sold their license to Botswana was acquired by the Khama Royal Family.
Their license has also been sold as well as in Ghana, Kenya, Ireland and India.
With such connections, Agilitee has plotted Africa on the map by obtaining the right to eBikeGo’s manufacturing ecosystems that will be implemented in Africa.
The company has benefited greatly by importing necessary material from India to assemble their plant here in Africa that will eventually convert into a comprehensive manufacturing plant.
This helping achieves the ultimate ‘100 % proudly South African status’.
Lamba counts his blessing to have come this far from spending time in jail to running a million dollar company.
He credits his rise to success to his relationship with God. Agilitee further aims to expand business and dealerships by selling licenses to operating franchises with direct ownership of only 5%.
They are also in the process of manufacturing their first four-wheeler, a sports car due to be launched in the second quarter of the year.
With many more futuristic innovations and technologies to come, there’s no denying that we will be riding cleaner into tomorrow.
“It is the future and surprisingly the future is now,” he says.