Topship, a digital freight forwarding startup has raised a $2.5 million seed round from institutional and individual investors with a bid to aid African businesses export and import parcels and cargo to their customers, suppliers, and distributors worldwide.
The funding was led by Flexport and backed by Y Combinator- Soma Capital, Starling Ventures, Olive Tree Capital, Capital X and True Capital. The individual investors in the round include Immad Akhund, Mercury CEO, and Arash Ferdowsi, co-founder of Dropbox.
“I think what YC does more than anything is just push you to dive as deep as possible in understanding your users,” said the CEO about Topship’s revenue growth after YC.
“Looking into the future, a lot of it’s coming from that ethos of the user being the most important piece of the puzzle, and we have to be obsessive about it. We’re taking all the learnings and insights that we’ve learned from our users over the past five months or six months and building it into the product in a merchants-focused way,” he said.
Topship was founded in 2020 during the pandemic when co-founder and CEO Moses Enenwali noticed a surge in merchants’ needs for shipping parcels and cargo outside Nigeria. He had built relationships with these merchants following his time with logistics company ACE Logistics and e-commerce fulfilment provider, Se
According to Enewali, Topship allows 1,500 merchants to move cargo and parcels from Nigeria to over 150 countries. Although it can help Nigerian merchants receive parcel deliveries from the other way round, they can only accept cargo deliveries from the U.S., the U.K and China .Enewali said the company is exploring other revenue streams, including trade financing and customs clearance charges. The company has recorded a 50% month-on-month revenue growth since getting into YC this January.
Topship caters to a wide range of users. From a merchant moving tons of heavy equipment and a solo entrepreneur sending parcels to a student mailing documents to a school abroad, and a Gen Z shopping from a foreign store, Topship is a borderline local and international shipping solution between digital freight and e-commerce fulfilment. Flexport has backed several African companies from both categories, such as Trella, Flextock, ShipBlu, Sendbox, and Freeterium.