Nigerian logistics startup Kobo360 raises $6M, expands in Africa – TechCrunch

Nigerian trucking logistics startup Kobo360 has raised $6 million to improve its platform and increase operations to Ghana, Togo and Cote D’Ivoire.

The corporate — with an Uber -like app that connects truckers and corporations with freight wishes — received the fairness financing in an IFC-led funding. The investment noticed participation from others, together with TLcom Capital and Y Combinator.

With the funding, Kobo360 goals to grow to be greater than a trucking transit app.

“We started off as an app, but our goal is to build a global logistics operating system. We’re no longer an app, we’re a platform,” founder Obi Ozor advised TechCrunch.

In addition to connecting truckers, manufacturers and vendors, the corporate is development that platform to supply provide chain control gear for endeavor consumers.

“Large enterprises are asking us for very specific features related to movement, tracking and sales of their goods. We either integrate other services, like SAP, into Kobo or we build those solutions into our platform directly,” stated Ozor.

Kobo360 will get started by means of creating its API and opening it as much as huge endeavor consumers.

“We want clients to be able to use our Kobo dashboard for everything; moving goods, tracking, sales and accounting…and tackling their challenges,” stated Ozor.

Kobo360 will even construct extra bodily presence during Nigeria to carrier its trade. “We’ll open 100 hubs before the end of 2019…to be able to help operations collect proof of delivery, to monitor trucks on the roads and have closer access to truck owners for vehicle inspection and training,” stated Ozor.

Kobo360 will upload extra warehousing features, “to support our reverse logistics business” — one of the crucial techniques the corporate brings costs down by means of matching vans with go back freight once they drop their lots, moderately than returning empty, consistent with Ozor.

Kobo360 will even use its $6 million funding to increase systems and products and services for its drivers, one thing Ozor sees as a strategic precedence.

“The day you neglect your drivers you are not going to have a company, only issues. If Uber were more driver-focused it would be a trillion-dollar company today,” he stated.

The startup provides drivers coaching and crew systems on insurance coverage, discounted petrol and automobile financing (KoboWin). Drivers at the Kobo360 app earn on reasonable of roughly $five,000 per 30 days, consistent with Ozor.

Under KoboCare, Kobo360 has additionally created an HMO for drivers and an incentive-based program to pay for training. “We give school fee support, a 5,000 Naira bonus per trip for drivers toward educational expenses for their kids,” stated Ozor.

Kobo360 will entire restricted enlargement into new markets Ghana, Togo and Cote D’Ivoire in 2019. “The expansion will be with existing customers, one in the port operations business, one in FMCG and another in agriculture,” stated Ozor.

Ozor thinks the startup’s asset-free, virtual platform and trade style can outpace conventional long-haul 3PL suppliers in Nigeria by means of dealing with extra quantity at less expensive costs.

“Owning trucks is just too difficult to manage. The best scalable model is to aggregate trucks,” he advised TechCrunch in a earlier interview.

With the most recent funding, IFC’s regional head for Africa Wale Ayeni and TLcom senior spouse Omobola Johnson will sign up for Kobo360’s board. “There’s a lot of inefficiencies in long-haul freight in Africa…and they’re building a platform that can help a lot of these issues,” stated Ayeni of Kobo360’s enchantment as an funding.

The corporate has served 900 companies, aggregated a fleet of eight,000 drivers and moved 155 million kilograms, in keeping with corporate stats. Top shoppers come with Honeywell, Olam, Unilever, Dangote and DHL.

MarketLine estimated the worth of Nigeria’s transportation sector in 2016 at $6 billion, with 99.four % comprising street freight.

Logistics has grow to be an lively house in Africa’s tech sector, with startup marketers connecting virtual to shipping fashions. In Nigeria, Jumia founder Tunde Kehinde departed and based Africa Courier Express. Startup is wrapping an app round bikes as an e-delivery platform. Nairobi-based Lori Systems has moved into virtual coordination of trucking in East Africa. And U.S.-based Zipline — which introduced drone shipping of industrial clinical provides in partnership with the federal government of Rwanda and give a boost to of UPS — is in “process of expanding to several other countries,” consistent with a spokesperson.

Kobo360 has plans for broader Africa enlargement however would no longer title further nations but.

Ozor stated the corporate is successful, even though the startup does no longer unlock monetary effects. Wale Ayeni additionally wouldn’t reveal earnings figures, however showed IFC’s did complete “legal and financial due diligence on Kobo’s stats,” as a part of the funding.

Ozor named Lori Systems as Kobo360’s closest African startup competitor.

On the largest problem to earnings era, it’s all about carrier shipping and execution, consistent with Ozor.

“We already have volume and demand in the market. The biggest threat to revenues is if Kobo360’s platform doesn’t succeed in solving our client’s problems and bringing reliability to their needs,” he stated.

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