Cairo-based digital trucking marketplace Trella has announced the successful completion of a US$42million Series A funding round, comprising US$30 million and US$12 million in debt facilities for major expansion in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan (MENAP).
Launched in 2019, Trella is a B2B technology platform and trucking market connecting shippers with carriers and the fastest growing digital freight marketplace in MENAP. Trella has 350+ shipper partners including blue-chip brands such as Coca-Cola ,Maersk, Mondi, Henkel, Orascom and Cemex. It also has 15,000+carrier partners.
Since its launch it has been accepted into the Y Combinator accelerator, acquired a local competitor, and expanded into Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. It is now targeting much bigger growth in the MENAP region after securing US$42 million in a Series A round of equity and debt funding.
The equity element was led by Maersk Growth – the corporate venture arm of global multinational A.P. Moller – Maersk, and Raed Ventures – a Saudi Arabian Venture Capital firm. Other participating investors include Algebra Ventures, 4DX Ventures, Vision Ventures, Next Billion Ventures, Venture Souq, Foundation Ventures, and Flexport. The debt facilities are being provided by Lendable – the next-generation lending platform and other local financial institutions.
Proceeds will be used by Trella to invest in tech capacity and product development to fuel growth, accelerate the company’s journey to reducing the costs of moving goods, and continue being the market leader in MENAP, where the road freight market is worth US$50 billion.
Trella disrupts and reshapes the freight industry by connecting shippers directly to carriers, with significant positives for both. The platform solves industry challenges including shippers suffering unreliability, inefficiency via fragmented truck ownership, high price points, and low transparency.
Shippers can book directly and access a transparent pricing structure. Shipments can be tracked in real-time, and receive analytics on transportation performance. Improved load utilization also helps reduce cost. For truck drivers, Trella improves the efficiency as freight is moved intelligently which boosts carriers’ earnings and creates job opportunities.
Trella’s experienced management team is well-placed to scale the company across the MENAP region. Its four co-founders include CEO, Omar Hagrass, who formerly was part of Uber’s Expansion Team in the EMEA region; Chief Operating Officer, Ali El Atrash, also ex-Uber where he was a Regional Head for MEA’s Shared Rides Division; Chief Technology Officer, Pierre Saad – a software architect at Cairo-based start-up, Vezeeta and Muhammad El Garem- a former business development manager at OLX.
“This US$42 million funding round is a huge endorsement of Trella’s capabilities, business model and market opportunity. We have a strong diversity of investors and we thank all participants for their support,” said Omar Hagrass, chief executive officer (CEO) of Trella.
“It is great to have Maersk, as a shipper customer that uses Trella, invested in our future growth. The MENAP freight market is a significant one and urgently needs the transparency, reliability and efficiency that Trella and its technology platform provides. We are trusted and used by some of the world’s most recognizable brands, and look forward to working with our partners to scale across MENAP.”
Almajdouie, founding partner of Raed VC, said his firm had an “unwavering belief” in the Trella founders, which coupled with the booming freight sector made the opportunity to lead the round “very exciting”.
“Trella’s product innovation has enabled them to grow significantly in the past year despite the tough operating environment. This is a testament to their resilient business model and strong team. We are excited to support the team in their growth journey,” he said.
Jeppe Hoier, partner at Maersk Growth, said there had been rapid development in trucking, as transportation of goods has become accessible to even the smallest companies due to new digital solutions.
“Trella’s platform is an excellent example of this democratization of the logistics sector. Trella is at the same time our first investment on the African continent founded by a team with significant experience from the startup scene,” he said.