Nairobi-based Lori Systems has received the backing of Imperial, an African and European-focused provider of integrated market access and logistics solutions firm, in a move that will see Lori launch its e-logistics technology platform enter the Southern African market.
Lori Systems says the investment from Imperial Venture Fund, managed by Newtown Partners will help support its growth in East and West Africa while the deal with Imperial, the logistics firm in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region will help digitize Africa’s road freight industry.
According to Mohammed Akoojee, Group CEO, Imperial, “We believe that Lori solves a real problem when it comes to matching volatile demand and reliable supply in Africa’s highly fragmented road freight industry. As a business that is focused on efficient and innovative logistics and market access solutions, this is a crucial business investment for Imperial and the continent. Investing in Lori Systems will enable the creation of further business opportunities in Africa and provide efficiency for Imperial’s clients and transport operators with whom we collaborate.”
Lori Systems launched in 2017 by a South African Joshua Sandler operates in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Togo, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia.
The deal will give Imperial access to Lori’s proprietary platform through this partnership, providing shippers and transporters in Southern Africa with access to a flexible suite of software applications and data. This will lead to more efficiently managed operations and fleets, resulting in tangible cost savings.
“Lori Systems partnership with Imperial is validation of our vision of a new era of digitally-enabled and efficient logistics not only in Africa but in frontier markets more broadly,” said Joshua Sandler, Co-Founder, and CEO, Lori Systems. “As a leading African logistics and market access player,innovation is at the heart of Imperial, and we couldn’t be more proud to partner with an industry veteran that embraces this digital disruption while expanding Lori’s reach across Southern Africa.”
Lori Systems is facing tough competition from Nigeria’s Kobo360, Kenya’s Sendy, and recent entrants such as Amitruck. This partnership gives it leverage over the South African market where none of these players can call home.
The deal brings together Lori’s technology and Imperial’s logistics expertise to drive similar efficiencies in Southern African markets.
“We believe digital freight exchanges are a compelling business model in emerging markets that complement Imperial’s traditional strength in contracted road freight,” said Llew Claasen, Managing Partner, Newtown Partners. “We have considered many road freight investment opportunities on the African continent and believe that the Lori Systems team, product, and the opportunity that presents itself through the Imperial partnership will create a lot of value.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the critical need to ensure efficiency in logistics and transportation and digital solutions.
Lori Systems joins EmptyTrips, an open marketplace paired with smart algorithms to match demand and supply of cargo transport is using smart-mapped spaces to reduce wastage on moving vehicles to offer cost-savings and lower transport costs hence reducing the barriers to entry of products across Africa.
Speaking to TechMoran, Benji Coetzee, Founder and CEO EmptyTrips said, “Proving new business models and innovative thinking can connect Africa and enable growth assures the investment community that we are moving Africa forward, smartly. Ultimately, we aim to reduce the number of empty vehicles due to better utilization, leading to lower congestion, and as such, is better for the environment.”
EmptyTrips was sold to an undisclosed firm and its founder Benji confirmed her exit from the industry and the firm to Ventureburn.