Lori Systems, a pan-African logistics platform has raised about $30 million to bolster its technologies, launch new products for its clientele, build up its business operations as well as it’s executive team across Africa.
Lori Systems, in a statement, says the Series A round was led by Chinese investors Hillhouse Capital Group and Crystal Stream Capital with participation from Apoletto Asia, the firm run by Russian billionaire founder Yuri Milner, Timon Capital, Raba VC, Endeavors Catalyst among others.
Lori Systems was launched in 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya and is up in arms against Kobo360, Bwala, Senga, Sendy among others. The firm connects cargo owners with truck fleets, helping them increase the utilization of trucking assets and realize on-time delivery to lower costs of goods in Africa.
The firm has operations in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and recently expanded to Ghana and Nigeria.
The expansion came after the tech-enabled trucking logistics platform won multiple bids associated with the newly built $4B railroad system in East Africa.
“We’ve opened new locations in Uganda, South Sudan and Rwanda. Over the past year, we have grown rapidly – both in terms of throughput on the system as well as the team. Our team has grown from 15 to 70 since February and adds experience from organizations such as McKinsey, DHL, and NASA. Lori is focused on hiring the best talent in order to execute on bringing down the costs of goods across the continent,” Lori Systems co-founder and CEO Josh Sandler said.
The firm also announced it had partnered with Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway to help reduce the costs involved by truckers in moving bulk imports and exports.
The firm also recently partnered with Kuehne + Nagel, DHL and Cargill to allow them to extract greater insight from their logistics data and drive informed action through improved technology, analytics, and operations.
To further reduce transportation costs and respond to increased demand, Lori has recently brought on top talent from across Africa. Jean-Claude Homawoo, a Harvard Business School alum, joins Lori as Chief Product Officer from Google where he was a Product Lead. Prior to that, he was iROKO’s VP of Strategy. Andrew Musoke, Head of Commercial, is a former Vice President at JP Morgan and Harvard Business School alum from Uganda. Lori also recently brought on Mehul Bhatt to run the East African region as it focuses on pan-Africa expansion. Bhatt is the former CEO of Maersk Tankers India and ran one of biggest clearing and forwarding agencies in East Africa.
Wang Mengqiu, founding partner of Crystal Stream Capital in a statement said, “As one of the first Chinese venture capital funds to venture into the African market, Crystal Stream Capital has conducted field visits and investigations to conclude that it is the best time to make investments in the region, due to Africa’s rapid economic growth, demographic dividend and booming mobile internet.”
In August 2019, the Chinese investment company led a seed round worth millions of U.S. dollars in Nigeria’s GONA, a cashless bus services and payment solutions run by Chinese entrepreneurs.