Kobo360, the Togo and Nigeria-based third-party logistics firm, has announced the completion of a $20 million Series A equity round led by Goldman Sachs, with participation from Asia Africa Investment and Consulting and existing investors including TLcom Capital, Y Combinator, the International Finance Corporation. An additional $10 million in local currency working capital financing has been secured from Nigerian commercial banks.
Launched in 2017 by Nigerian entrepreneurs Obi Ozor and Ife Oyedele II, Kobo360’s tech-enabled full truckload offering enables the development of an efficient supply chain for end-to-end long-haul freight operations, connecting and supporting cargo owners, truck owners and drivers, as well as cargo recipients. The company has moved over 500 million kg of goods, aggregated a fleet of over 10,000 drivers and trucks, and services SMEs and over 80 large enterprises such as Dangote Group, DHL, Unilever, Olam, African Industries, Flour Mills of Nigeria, and Lafarge.
Located in key strategic trade hubs in Western and Eastern Africa, the e-logistics company will continue its expansion with the ambition to build a Global Logistics Operating System [G-LOS] powering trade and commerce across Africa and emerging markets.
With the funding, the team will continue to scale the organization, develop the technology offering and accelerate supply growth – planning to add 25,000 drivers to the platform in the coming months to power the recent Africa Free Trade Continental Agreement, expected to catalyze intra-African trade. Kobo360 is also planning to significantly broaden its reach in Africa, entering 10 new countries by the end of 2020 beyond its footprint in Nigeria, Togo, Ghana and Kenya.
Obi Ozor, co-founder and CEO of Kobo360 said: “Our Series A allows us to invest in growing our talented team that is working hard on the ground to systematically address the inefficiencies within the African logistics sector, and strengthen our already extensive network of clients and truck owners across the continent. We are also focusing on developing the partnership with drivers, ensuring that they are trained to use mobile-enabled technology, so they can convey goods seamlessly and earn more money. We are already seeing drivers running trips on the Kobo360 platform increase their monthly earnings by 40%, as we work together to mobilize logistics across Africa.”
Jules Frebault of Goldman Sachs said: “Kobo360’s on-demand logistics offering has generated impressive traction and we are excited to support Obi, Ife and the team as they harness technology to tackle one of Africa’s most pressing development challenges – increasing market transparency, improving reliability and unlocking efficiencies for all participants in the logistics ecosystem”.
Senior Partner of TLcom Capital, Omobola Johnson said, “We see this Series A round as a means to support an ambitious, laser-focused company who are using technology to actively solve problems for enterprises across the continent, and we look forward to working with them as they continue to scale and transform the African logistics sector.”
Kobo360 is also developing a suite of driver-focused products to support the over 10,000 drivers on the Kobo360 platform. It has launched KoPAY, offering access to up to $5,000 monthly working capital; KoboSAFE, access to an insurance product; and KoboCARE, access to discounted petrol, comprehensive HMO packages and an incentive-based education program for drivers’ families.
Wale Ayeni, who heads venture investing in Africa for the International Finance Corporation, added, “IFC’s continuous investment into Kobo360 stems from the company’s successful track record. Kobo360 is empowering and enhancing the capacity of the vast underserved network of “micro” fleets in Africa to serve the huge unmet long-haul freight needs of large enterprises and SMEs, delivering value to both sides.”