Spring In The Step For Africa's E-Logistics Startups

Logistics Update Africa|November-December 2019

Spring In The Step For Africa's E-Logistics Startups
A steady flow of big-ticket investments is ensuring the wave of digitisation in Africa is more than a passing one. Logistics startups riding high on the back of technological support are building solutions to identify and bridge gaps in the supply chain. The challenges for these startups go beyond mere lack of infrastructure, and the inflow of capital is making sure their eyes are on the goal of making logistics accessible, Blessy Chettiar reports.
Blessy Chettiar

Kenya’s Twiga Foods raised $30 million from lenders and investors led by Goldman Sachs in a Series B round. The funds will allow the B2B food distribution company to expand in Nairobi with a distribution centre. According to Crunchbase, Twiga’s Series B is the biggest financing round raised by a Nairobi-based company in 2019, and the third-largest round of all time for the city.

Pan-African e-logistics company, Lori, will expand to Nigeria, almost a year after completing a successful pilot in Nigeria with some top cargo companies including Olam, Honeywell Flour Mills, and Flour Mills Nigeria. The ‘Uber of trucks’ acts as a matchmaker between truckers and companies that want to move cargo. While Lori has never made its financing public, it is said to have raised more than $20 million from Asia-based Hillhouse Capital, Africa-focused venture capital fund EchoVC, and members of the Cargill family, owners of the US agricultural commodities group which uses its services.

Kobo360, a Nigerian digital logistics platform backed by the International Finance Corporation, recently secured a $30 million Series A funding from US investment bank, Goldman Sachs, TLCom Capital, YCombinator and some Nigerian banks. The funding will be used to scale operations, accelerate supply growth and develop the technology offering on the platform.

Bwala Africa, a Nairobi-based last-mile logistics startup has secured a deal with an undisclosed European tech firm to develop a new tech platform for the startup. The deal is valued at $8,00,000. The deal comes as Bwala Africa opens its Series A round to investors. The startup aims to raise between $5 million and $8 million and is in talks with various venture capital companies and private equity firms.

The wave of digitization in Africa is evident in the steady sprouting up of logistics companies riding on the strength of possibilities created by technology. Increased access and affordability to connectivity is pushing the envelope for solutions needed to fill gaps in the logistics supply chains. The interest and steady flow of investments is making sure these tech-logistics companies bridge the gaps in the African supply chain for a multitude of verticals and sectors.

‘DIGITISING LOGISTICS IN AFRICA’

In the report 'Digitising Logistics in Africa' by Briter Bridges, authors Dario Giuliani and Lisa Hannah surveyed more than 40 leading logistics startups "to get qualitative insights and anecdotes about the sector and its development."

Elaborating on why Briter Bridges chose to investigate the role of up-and-coming logistics companies in the African continent, founder Giuliani says, "Briter has been tracking businesses and market insights across dozens of verticals and, as part of our research, we decided to devote some efforts to bring to the surface the opportunity presented by the logistics sector, which over the past 2-3 years has seen investment skyrocketing and several new players entering the market all across Africa and other emerging markets."

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November-December 2019