Green Revolution and AI Company and the world’s first black owned electric vehicle manufacturer, Agilitee has started its capital raising efforts ahead of the much awaited listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
Agilitee is currently doing an IPO on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in South Africa, the company is raising $2 billion by selling 10% of Agilitee shares to the public. This publication caught up with the Billionaire founder, Dr. Mandla Lamba to discuss the capital raising of $2 billion and what this huge amount of money is being raised for.
We have observed over the past 24 months the rise of Agilitee, the concept was started in 2015 but the company was founded in 2018 and today it has developed into a leader in the space of AI & Green Revolution, how did you guys get here ?
It has been a long walk and a journey that was fueled by faith and completely nothing else. We started out with electric 3 electric scooters that were a result of a partnership and by the end of 2020 we went to market.
Today you are not just manufacturing scooters but you have expanded the business to so many things, besides the scooters, what else does Agilitee manufacture ?
We have also manufactured 3 more other new models of electric scooters that are not part of any partnership. From the first partnership we learned a lot about developing our own ecosystems and technologies that have helped us to manufacture these three new models of electric scooters, Agilitee LoadPlus, Agilitee Venom and Agilitee Agilitee Re-try. Now we have a total of 6 electric scooter models, we then have four wheelers which are specifically designed for the low income market, we have Agilitee At Last, Agilitee Bearer and Agilitee Go. These are three full electric cars and one of them being Agilitee Go is the first self-charging full electric vehicle in Africa. We then have infrastructure solutions from charging electric four wheelers to battery swapping facilities for 2 and 3 wheelers.
We also have over 200 AI & Green Tech products that include, AI Refrigerators, AI TVs, AI Laptops and so forth just to name a few.
You must be proud of yourself for such achievement?
All glory and honor belongs to God, we are nothing but vessels through which God’s power must be manifested here on earth. So all this is for His glory not mine nor that of my teams.
You are raising $2 billion by selling 10% of Agilitee and this values Agilitee at $20 billion, how do you feel about it ?
I must admit, it is an amazing feeling to know that we have built a company that has the power to change so many lives of our people, for me it’s about bettering the lives of all Africans, so the valuation is a welcomed affair because it will continue to allow us to raise tons of money at a very minimal dilution to shareholders.
Is Africa ready to invest $2 billion in an IPO after COVID-19 destroyed so much?
I do believe Africa has that capacity to do even more than just that. However, Agilitee is raising $1.5 billion outside Africa and only $500 million in Africa. Most recently we were on a call with one of our investors in the US, the group wanted to buy the whole 10% at $2 billion and I refused. I told them that we also want others to be part of this amazing company especially Africans. I remember, it was myself, Boni Roberts CEO of Agilitee Africa, Crickey Du Plessis Deputy CEO of Agilitee Africa and Michelle Krastanov who is the CEO of AcaciaCap Advisors, the JSE approved Sponsor that is helping us with the IPO on that call. When I said $1 billion from one group is the highest we could allow, my team mates were not happy even Michelle our advisor said take the whole $2 billion what’s wrong with you.
I laughed because I understood that Agilitee is the first in this industry in Africa and the first to do an IPO in Africa, we cannot let one group take up the available shares without giving a fair chance for Africans to participate as well. So in a nutshell, we are not raising the money in Africa, but we will give Africa an opportunity to purchase $500 million worth shares, then our American group will do $1 billion and the other $500 million will be from between, UK, UAE, Asia and Europe.
We are still negotiating with the American investors and we believe we will close this $1 billion for 5% in few months even though they are pushing us for $2 billion for 10%.
You have a great heart and and big plans for Africa, so where will this $2 billion be used ?
40% of it will be used to build manufacturing and assembling facilities and created jobs across the continent, this is the part that I am mostly excited about and then the rest of the money has other allocations that include, growth and expansion, R&D and infrastructure but we will also be paying our first dividend also from it. Agilitee is sitting on zero debt on balance sheet so paying dividends is the right thing to do.
Thank you for taking your time to have this chat with us, is there anything that you want to add?
Yes, the Agilitee IPO is the first in AI & EV in Africa, this is the first New World Business to go public in Africa. There’s not a single stock exchange in Africa that has ever listed any player in this industry that Agilitee is in, this is a moment of learning from Africa as this IPO will set the tone for others in the industry and also become a template for regulators on how to handle players in our industry, for governments on hiw to draft their policy frameworks and for investors to learn that what has been seen in America and China in terms of great returns is now starting in Africa. There’s a new shift happening in Africa right now. Behold, God is doing a new thing.