Kobo360, the digital third-party logistics provider, today announced the completion of a $20 million (Ksh2 billion) Series A equity round led by Goldman Sachs. Asia Africa Investment and Consulting Pte. and existing investors including TLcom Capital, Y Combinator, the International Finance Corporation, also participated in the deal-making.
An additional $10 million (Ksh1 billion) in local currency working capital financing has been secured from Nigerian commercial banks.
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 500 million kilograms of goods, aggregated a fleet of over 10,000 drivers and trucks, and services SMEs and more than 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.
With the funding, the team will continue to scale the organization, develop the technology offering and accelerate supply growth. It plans to add 25,000 drivers to the platform in the coming months to power the recent Africa Free Trade Continental Agreement, expected to catalyze intra-African trade.
Kobo360 is also looking at significantly broadening its reach in Africa, entering 10 new countries by the end of 2020 beyond its footprint in Nigeria, Togo, Ghana and Kenya.
“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,” said Mr Obi Ozor, co-founder and CEO of Kobo360.
Mr Ozor said they are 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,” he added.
Ms Kagure Wamunyu, Kobo360’s CEO of Africa Region said there are a lot of inefficiencies in the logistics and supply chain industry.
“At present, there’s a serious disconnect between moving goods from one location to another – on time, with full visibility on trip status and product security,” she said. “Part of the solution to this problem is thinking about it holistically and incorporating technology and big data analytics to solve inefficiencies in the supply chain and provide the needed visibility and transparency that will put businesses’ minds at rest.”
Kobo360 is also looking at significantly broadening its reach in Africa, entering 10 new countries by the end of 2020.
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”.
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.
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