African e-logistics startup Kobo360 has announced the close of a USD 20 Mn Series A equity round led by Goldman Sachs. The trucking platform’s funding also saw the participation of the Asia Africa Investment and Consulting Pte, existing investors TLcom Capital, Y Combinator, and the International Finance Corporation. USD 10 Mn in local currency was also raised in addition, secured from Nigerian commercial banks.
The digital technology platform disrupting third-party logistics is going to use the cash to scale, develop its business’ technology and accelerate supply growth. The company says it plans to add 25,000 driver drivers to the platform in coming months to support the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement. Kobo360 wants to expand its footprint in Africa and enter 10 new countries by 2020 end. Now it has the money to reach further beyond Nigeria, Togo, Ghana and Kenya.
Launched in 2017 by Nigerian entrepreneurs Obi Ozor and Ife Oyedele II, Kobo360’s tech-enabled full truckload offering enables the development of an efficient supply chain for end-to-end long-haul freight operations, connecting and supporting cargo owners, truck owners & drivers, and cargo recipients.
The company has moved over 500Mkg of goods, aggregated a fleet of over 10,000 drivers and trucks, and services SMEs and over 80 large enterprises such as Dangote Group, DHL, Unilever, Olam, African Industries, Flour Mills of Nigeria, and Lafarge.
Located in key strategic trade hubs in Western and Eastern Africa, the e-logistics company will continue its expansion with the ambition to build a Global Logistics Operating System [G-LOS] powering trade and commerce across Africa and emerging markets.
International Finance Corporation shouldered the Uber-like platform’s finances when it raised USD 6 Mn in December last year. An equity financing from the sister organization of the World Bank, the funds were earmarked for solidifying Kobo360’s presence in its countries of operation. In the same year, Y Combinator opened its doors to the startup and gave it a USD 120K equity consideration. While being accepted into the global accelerator’s 2018 summer cohort, the company raised USD 1.2 Mn – another equity – in a round led by U.S-based Western Technology Investment.
Goldman Sachs who led the Series A seems to have a taste for disrupting startups. In the last several years, the firm’s financial efforts in Africa has been seen in the likes of Jumia, an NYSE-listed company who is now Africa’s first tech unicorn. The company also led a USD 52 Mn funding in South African fintech startup Jumo last year.
Jules Frebault of Goldman Sachs said, “Kobo360’s on-demand logistics offering has generated impressive traction and we are excited to support Obi, Ife and the team as they harness technology to tackle one of Africa’s most pressing development challenges – increasing market transparency, improving reliability and unlocking efficiencies for all participants in the logistics ecosystem”.
Obi Ozor, Co-founder and CEO of Kobo360 said, “Our Series A allows us to invest in growing our talented team that is working hard on the ground to systematically address the inefficiencies within the African logistics sector, and strengthen our already extensive network of clients and truck owners across the continent.
We are also focusing on developing the partnership with drivers, ensuring that they are trained to use mobile-enabled technology, so they can convey goods seamlessly and earn more money. We are already seeing drivers running trips on the Kobo360 platform increase their monthly earnings by 40%, as we work together to mobilize logistics across Africa.”
Senior Partner of TLcom Capital, Omobola Johnson said, “We see this Series A round as a means to support an ambitious, laser-focused company who are using technology to actively solve problems for enterprises across the continent, and we look forward to working with them as they continue to scale and transform the African logistics sector.”
Kobo360 is also developing a suite of driver-focused products to support the over 10,000 drivers on the Kobo360 platform. It has launched KoPAY, offering access to up to $5,000 monthly working capital; KoboSAFE, access to an insurance product; and KoboCARE, access to discounted petrol, comprehensive HMO packages and an incentive-based education program for drivers’ families.
Wale Ayeni, who heads venture investing in Africa for the International Finance Corporation, added, “IFC’s continuous investment into Kobo360 stems from the company’s successful track record. Kobo360 is empowering and enhancing the capacity of the vast underserved network of “micro” fleets in Africa to serve the huge unmet long-haul freight needs of large enterprises and SMEs, delivering value to both sides.”
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