Kenyan logistics startup Sote secures $4m seed extension for expansion.


Sote, a Kenyan supply chain startup, has raised a US$4 million seed extension round to expand its fintech offering.

Sote, a licensed tech-enabled customs clearing and forwarding service, was founded in 2018 and launched in 2020. The platform provides a real-time dashboard that enables visibility into shipping progress for manufacturers, retailers, and distributors, saving time and money.

In the previous year, the startup had a 370 percent increase in customer base and a 200 percent increase in income. Sote now hopes to target larger customers in 2022 and exceed growth expectations, having just secured its Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) certification.

The startup has raised a US$4 million seed extension round to support this, bringing its total funding to US$8.4 million. Social Capital, Chamath Palihapitiya’s fund, led the round, with the firm’s growth partner Ray Ko joining Sote’s board of directors. Justin Saslow, Harry Hurst of Pipe, MaC Venture Capital, and K50 Ventures were among the small group of investors.

Sote is now looking to expand into the fintech industry, with the goal of adding a full-service working capital loan solution for Africa’s end-to-end supply chain to its end-to-end logistics freight forwarding company. Meanwhile, Samora Kariuki has been appointed as director of fintech, and John Bish has been appointed as CFO and M&A lead.

“Sote has always been about the people. A group of passionate individuals driven to build the future of Africa. We’re excited about bringing Samora and John under one roof with our logistics and engineering teams to create uniquely compelling solutions for our customers and the value chain beyond them,” said Felix Orwa, founder and CEO of Sote. 

“If the supply chain is composed of the flow of product, the flow of information, and the flow of cash, then Sote already controls the first two. With the launch of our fintech solution, we will have control and positive influence on all three. This creates a powerful flywheel effect with our customers as they find more holistic and convenient bundled services between logistics and capital solutions.”