Nigerian logistics startup, Kobo360 has successfully secured USD 1.2 Mn in a seed round led by Western Technology Investment, a United States venture capital firm. Kobo360 was founded in 2016 by Obi Ozor, the CEO and Ife Oyedele II, in a bid to move cargo with access to a pool of over 5400 trucks through an online platform.
A Nigerian investment firm known as Verod Capital Management as well participated in the round. The capital will be the facilitating tool for on-time payment of drivers on the Kobo360 platform. Additionally, the firm is believed to be considering the addition of 200 trucks to its portfolio and expanding into Ivory Coast, Ghana, Senegal, and Togo.
Kobo360 is a platform on which users can real-time-track cargos, as well allowing drivers to be selective about the load they wish to convey. They have an Uber-like mobile application which is built to connect Nigerian truckers to companies with freight needs. The app, according to Ozor, currently coordinates 5 K trips in a month. He also said that the startup’s asset-free, digital platform, and business model could outpace traditional long-haul 3PL providers in the country by handling an increased volume at lower prices. “Logistics in Nigeria have been prices based on the assumption that drivers are going to run empty on their return trip. When we now complement match freight with return trips, prices crash”, Ozor said.
The firm disclosed to have processed USD 1.75 Mn worth of orders and to have served more than 300 businesses since it launched into the market. This startup is based in Lagos and has been affiliated into Y-Combinator’s 2018 Summer cohort, receiving a 7 percent equity investment of USD 120 K from the seed fund. The firm will also present at an August Demo Day in front of Y-Combinator Investors. YC partner Tim Brady informed in an interview that they “Were impressed by both Obi and Ife as founders. They were proliferating and had a strong vision for the company”.
The startup is launching the Kobo Wealth Investment Network or KoboWIN, which is intended to be a crowd-invest, vehicle financing program. Through this, Kobo drivers will be able to finance new trucks through citizen investors and pay them back directly (with interest) over a period of 60 months.
According to Ozor, the Kobo360 platform was created to bring solutions to the pressing issue of limited vehicle finance options for truckers in Nigeria. Reporting, he said, “We hope KoboWIN will bring about 20 K additional trucks to the Kobo platform”. He added that they “Giver drivers the demand and technology to power their businesses. An average trucker will make USD 3,500 K a month with our mobile app. That’s middle-class territory in Nigeria”.
Ozor was previously the head of Uber Nigeria before he joined forces with Oyodeli to found Kobo360. Together they initially aimed 3PL for Nigeria’s e-commerce boom, namely Jumia and Konga.