Sote, a Nairobi-based African supply-chain-start-up has raised $3 million seed round to bring its licensed tech-enabled customs clearing and forwarding service public.
With the $3 million seed round, Sote brings its total raise to $4.4 million. The round was led by MaC Venture Capital, with
participation from Acceleprise, Backstage Capital, Future Africa, and Rob Solomon — Chairman at GoFundMe.
In addition to the funding announcement, Marlon Nichols — Managing General Partner at MaC VC — also joins Sote’s Board of Directors.
According to Sote co-founder/CEO Felix Orwa, “By providing tech-enabled supply chain services, we introduce meaningful visibility and transparency to industrial importers and exporters such as
manufacturers and retailers in a space that traditionally runs on calls, text, emails, and paper.”
Sote gives industrial cargo owners a central dashboard that acts as a single record of transactions for all involved parties in clearing and forwarding. Sote’s software platform manages freight clearing and forwarding as well as tracking of shipment status, payment history, and ETA of containers, in a bid to reduce communication between the customer and Sote staff.
Sote’s CEO Felix Orwa is a Kenyan native, former pilot and logistics industry insider while the CPO Meka Este-McDonald is a Stanford graduate and previously worked at Verizon and Gigster. Sote CTO Scott Yacko was director of software engineering at Amazon and previously a director of architecture at Walmart.
As both a freight forwarder and customs brokerage firm, Sote can coordinate the transportation of goods and necessary paperwork, clear the goods at the port of entry, and arrange for final delivery — transparently.
According to the World Bank, 20 million containers move through Africa yearly, equating to a $20 billion logistics market. Over 1 million containers move through Kenya alone with Mombasa Port being Africa’s fifth-busiest port serving Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Somalia, Rwanda and South Sudan.
Other major ports include South Africa, Mozambique, Nigeria, Morocco, and Egypt. Africa plays a huge role in transporting goods all around the world and requires a great deal of coordination between commercial and government sectors. Sote has the potential to grow as it ushers itself more into the tech space.
As a solution to its customers, industrial importers, and exporters, Sote aims to be a transparent resource for all parties involved in clearing and forwarding.
“Sote’s central position in Africa’s supply chain is an opportunity to unify all the supply chain players in a single platform and provide ERP solutions to their customers and supply chain partners,” said MaC VC Founding Partner and Sote Board Member Marlon Nichols.
Sote aims to use the funds to build new software solutions to its customers and supply chain partners, expand to new markets, and scale its customer base over the next year.