Kenyan logistics startup, Sendy, has scored USD 20 Mn in funding in a Series B round led by Atlantica Ventures, with participation from Japanese automotive company Toyota.
With the latest funding round in the bag, Sendy has now raised USD 29 Mn in total since first rolling out its on-demand platform that connects clients to drivers and vehicles for goods delivery in 2015.
Sendy was co-founded by two Americans; Mesh Alloys and Malaika Judd, and two Kenyans; Don Okoth and Evanson Biwott. The startup currently has offices in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda with 5000 vehicles on its platform that move all sorts of goods, according to Alloys who spoke to TechCrunch.
Sendy offers services for eCommerce, enterprise, and freight delivery for a client list that includes elite names like Unilever, DHL, Maersk, Kenya’s biggest telco, Safaricom, and African e-tailer, Jumia.
The company uses an asset-free model, with an app that coordinates contract drivers who own their own vehicles, while confirming deliveries, creating performance metrics and managing payment.
On Sendy’s business and revenue model, “We take a percentage of each transaction. We also facilitate services for drivers like insurance, health insurance, vehicle financing, vehicle servicing, and fuel credits,” said Alloys.
Sendy’s big raise is coming at a time when Africa’s on-demand logistics services space seems to be hotting up. Within the last six months, competitors like Nigeria’s Kobo360 and Kenya’s Lori Systems have raised no less than USD 50 Mn in funding between them.
As it is becoming a high-stakes game, Sendy is looking to up its competitive stance in the continent’s startup logistics space.
The startup plans to use its Series B funding for new hires and to upgrade its tech. “Getting better operational efficiency is super key so we’ll invest…in engineering teams and data teams…and deploying talent to improve the services that we give our customers,” said Alloys.
Sendy’s latest funding round also comes with an R&D arrangement with Toyota Tsusho Corporation, whose investment comes from a venture arm the company established for Africa, called Mobility 54.
This arrangement will help Sendy position itself for further success as the automaker will assist in optimizing the kind of trucks that perform well in the market and also look at setting up vehicle services centers in partnership with Sendy.
In a market that already serves up stiff competition, Sendy is looking to outpace the rest by improving on its technology, which Alloys describes as superior, and the startup’s improved customer service.
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