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These are Africa’s 10 most funded transport and logistics startups

Transporting products and people across Africa is a challenge. Cities on the continent continue to have some of the most renowned traffic bottlenecks, making it difficult for people to get around. Aside from human movement, an inadequate transportation and logistics network has made it difficult for businesses running e-commerce platforms to operate successfully.

It is also not uncommon to order a product from a neighboring country or within the country and have it delivered at a cost that is nearly equal to the price of the thing itself. As a result, the industry has a high potential for disruption, and investors are taking notice. 2019 is on track to be the year when transportation and logistics firms become VC darlings, a position formerly occupied by financial services and e-commerce ventures.

The following are the ten transportation and logistics businesses that have received the most venture capital to date.

1. Swvl [$80.5M+]

Swvl is a premium mass transit system that was founded in 2017 by Mostafa Kandil. The startup started out by providing buses to neighbourhoods in Cairo before expanding its operations to other MENA countries as well as Kenya. As of the beginning of 2019, Swvl had plans to expand to Uganda as well as Nigeria.  It allows people to share a ride in a van or bus during morning and evening commutes for a fixed flat fare with no surge pricing. To date, they have raised over $80.5 million in venture funding across 4 different rounds. Some of Swvl’s notable investors include BECO Capital, DiGAME and Careem, though Careem divested their staketowards the end of 2019. The startup – which holds the record for Egypt’s most funded to-date – also holds the record for Africa’s most funded logistics and transport across Africa.

2. Kobo360 [$27.32M]

Nigerian logistics startup Kobo360 was among the African startups that were last year admitted into Y Combinator’s summer cohort. The startup has a digital logistics platform that connects truckers to companies with freight needs with operations limited to Nigeria but there is a clear indication that they will be expanding beyond the country into other African countries. Founded in 2017 by Ife OyedeleII and Obi Ozor, Kobo360 has now raised a total of $27.32 million in funding across 4 different funding rounds. International Finance Corporation, Western Technology Investment, CardinalStone Partners, Y Combinator, Chandaria Capital, TLcom Capital, and Verod Capital Management are among their notable backers.

3. Lori Systems [$14.9M]

Lori systems provides a logistics platform for the cargo-transport value chain. Founded in 2016 by Ernest Gichini Ngaruiya and Josh Sandler, the startup plans to revolutionize the logistics industry across sub-Saharan Africa. Although the company has not been public with its fundraising details, according to their SEC filings, they have raised at least $14.9 million across two different filings. In January 2018, they filed for $6.17 million(which we classified as a Seed) and in May 2019, they made another filing for $8.7 million (which we classified as a Series A). Details regarding the investors behind Lori Systems are not public and the startup is not likely to make them public.  

4. Sendy [$8M]

Kenyan startup Sendy offers on-demand door-to-door package delivery services. Founded in 2014 in Kenya by Don Okoth, Evanson Biwott, Malaika Judd and Meshack Alloys, it has structured its model to help businesses ship their products using its trucks, pick-ups, vans, and motorcycles. Across 2 major funding rounds, Seed and Series A, Sendy has now raised $8 million in venture funding according to its CEO, Meshack Alloys. Some of their notable backers include DOB Equity, Toyota Tusho corporation and Safaricom through their venture arm.

5. Max.ng [$7.5M]

Lagos is becoming a critical battleground for many ride-hailing startups and MAX is one of those that are seeking to take a share of the market. The startup is on a mission to make motorcycle taxis safe, affordable and accessible across West Africa through its MAX app. Founded in Nigeria in 2015 by Chinedu Azodoh and Adetayo Bamiduro, it has now raised $8.5M in funding over 3 rounds – though this figure includes the $1 million that they raised in grants. The majority of MAX’s investment was recorded in their recently concluded $6 million Series A that Novastar Ventures led with participation from Alitheia Capital and Yamaha Motor Ventures.

6. Halan [$6.89M]

As the transportation and logistics market is getting hotter, new entrants are fixating themselves on being niche-focused. Egyptian startup Halan which was founded in 2017 by  Ahmed Mohsen, Mohamed Aboulnaga and Mounir Nakhla is among those that are looking to differentiate themselves through focusing on single vertical. The startup developed a mobile app that allows users to order tuktuks & motorcycles and has raised $6.89 million in total venture financing to date across 3 funding rounds. The startup’s latest round of financing was a $4.28 million Series A that took place towards the end of 2019. Renowned Egyptian VC- firm Algebra Ventures led the round. 

7. WhereIsMyTransport [$5.8M]

Founded in 2008 by Chris King, Dave New, and Devin Vries, South Africa and London based WhereIsMyTransport collects and provides access to public transport data from cities in emerging markets. The startup then offers data collection, data access, and journey planning on their platform and has so far raised $5.8 million in total funding over 4 different rounds. Some of WhereIsMyTransport’s notable include Global Innovation Fund and Goodwell Investments. 

8. Gokada [$5.63M]

Founded in 2018 by Deji Oduntan and Fahim Saleh, a New Yorker with a couple of success stories already under his belt, Gokada wants to disrupt transportation across Africa starting with Lagos. On his LinkedIn, Fahim also lists himself as a founding partner at Adventure Capital a firm that not only invested in Gokada but in similar ventures across the South East of Asia. These include Pathao, Jobike and Jatri in Bangladesh as well as Picap and Muvo in Colombia. 

To date, they have raised now raised $5.63 million in total venture funding across two 2 rounds. The company’s latest and most notable round took place in May 2019 and was led by Rise Capital, CRE Venture Capital & Adventure Capital. Gokada was the first to announce that they were looking to launch a Boat hailing service in Lagos before Max.ng and Uber followed suit announcing their own services too.

9. Mondo Ride [$5M]

Mondo Ride is another ride-hailing platform with operations in Kenya and Uganda. Founded in 2016 by Himanshu Anand and Troels Andersen. Since launching, they have dabbled in offering both cab and boda boda services across their two main markets of Uganda and Kenya. Last year, it was reported that the firm had raised $2M in seed funding from undisclosed investors. The figure brought the total venture funding that the startup had raised to $5 million.  

10. Little Cab [$3M]

Similar to other ride-hailing startups, Safaricom owned Little Cabs that was founded in 2016 offers an on-demand service. Last year, the startup sold 10% stake in exchange for a $3 million in funding in an impromptu deal with an Indian fintech firm. At the time of announcing the $3 million raise, Little Cabs also added that they were looking to raise an additional $100 million in funding, there haven’t been any updates regarding the raise.

Note: Startups like SafeBoda that raised funding rounds that could be significant but were not disclosed do not appear on this list. Similarly, Oride, which will benefit from Opay’s $50 million that was raised in July does not appear on the list as we could not breakdown how much of that financing will go to the venture.

Update: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Sendy’s total venture investment was $5.5 million. After Meshack Alloys contacted us, we amended it to $8M. We also altered Lori Systems’ rounds to Seed and Series A, rather than Series A and Series B.

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