Kobo360, a digital marketplace for long distance hauliers connecting cargo owners to vetted and reliable trucks, has raised $30 million to build a Global Logistics Operating System [G-LOS] powering trade and commerce across Africa and emerging markets.
In this, $20M Series A equity round was led by Goldman Sachs, with participation from Asia Africa Investment and Consulting Pte. and existing investors including TLcom Capital, Y Combinator, the International Finance Corporation while an additional $10M in local currency working capital financing was secured from Nigerian commercial banks.
In a statement, 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. “
Kobo360 which recently launched in Ghana and is shopping for a local address in Kenya will focus on increasing partner drivers on the platform, train them 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,” Ozor added.
Launched in 2017 by Nigerian entrepreneurs Obi Ozor and Ife Oyedele II, Kobo360 recently raised $1.2 million in pre-seed funding round soon after being accepted into the YCombinator class of 2018. The round was led by Western Technology Investment and Nigeria’s Verod Capital Management.
A year later, Kobo360 raised a $6 million equity investment led by the IFC with participation from others including Silicon Valley investors WTI, YCombinator , and African institutional investors Cardinal Stone Partners, Chandaria Capital, and TLcom.
With all this funding Kobo360 wants to bring efficiency in the end-to-end long-haul freight operations, connecting and supporting cargo owners, truck owners & drivers, and cargo recipients to disrupt the $150 billion Africa logistics industry.
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.
With the funding, Kobo360 aims to add 25,000 drivers to the platform to meet the growing intra-African trade after the recent Africa Free Trade Continental Agreement. The firm will also enter 10 new countries by the end of 2020 beyond its footprint in Nigeria, Togo, Ghana and Kenya.
“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”. said Jules Frebault of Goldman Sachs.
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 said 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.
“There’s quite 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,” said Kagure Wamunyu, Kobo360’s CEO of Africa Region in a statement. “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. This is where Kobo360 come in from the logistics perspective.”