Africa-based cargo and logistics marketplace Kobo360 has raised $30 million to build a Global Logistics Operating System [G-LOS] to drive intra-trade on the continent and in emerging markets. 

The company recieved a $20 million equity investment during a Series A round led by Goldman Sachs, with participation from Asia Africa Investment and Consulting. Existing investors TLcom Capital, Y Combinator and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) also participated. The other $10 million came from local commercial banks as debt financing and would be deployed as working capital.

Launched by Nigerian entrepreneurs Obi Ozor and Ife Oyedele in 2017, Kobo360 aggregates trucks, haulage, and shipping suppliers to bring transparency to pricing, safety to conveyed goods and to meet logistics needs. There are currently many inefficiencies within the African logistics and supply chain industry.  The biggest issue is the lack of tracking information. Goods coming from China, for example, would arrive in Lagos, Nigeria weeks before a stock delivery coming from another country on the continent.

“Kobo360’s on-demand logistics offering has generated impressive traction,” Goldman Sachs representative Jules Frebault said. “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.” 

Kobo360 CEO Obi Ozor said the new funds would be used to further mitigate these challenges. 

“Our Series A allows us to invest in growing our talented team. They are working hard […] to systematically address the inefficiencies within the African logistics sector and strengthen our already extensive network of clients and truck owners across the continent.”

Kobo360 aims to add 25,000 drivers to its pool to meet growing demand, encouraged by the recent Africa Free Trade Continental Agreement. The company will focus on increasing partner drivers on the platform. It will train them to use mobile-enabled technology, so they can transport goods seamlessly and earn more money.

Kobo360 will also enter 10 new countries by the end of 2020. It’s currently active in Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, and Kenya. 

Headquartered in Lagos, Kobo360 received $1.2 million in pre-seed funding after being accepted into the YCombinator class of 2018. It raised $6 million in equity from IFC just one year later. The company has moved more than 500 million kg of goods and aggregated a fleet of more than 10,000 drivers and trucks. It services SMEs and more than 80 large enterprises including DHL, Unilever, Olam, and the Dangote Group.

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