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Nigerian logistics startup Kobo360 raises $6M, expands in Africa

Jake Bright Contributor Jake Bright is a writer and author in New York City. He is co-author of The Next Africa. More posts by this contributor Nigerian logistics startup Kobo360 raises $6M, expands in Africa Africa’s agtech wave gets $10 million richer as Twiga Foods raises more capital Nigerian trucking logistics startup Kobo360 has raised $6 million to upgrade its platform and expand operations to Ghana, Togo and Cote D’Ivoire. The company — with an Uber -like app that connects truckers and companies with freight needs — gained the equity financing in an IFC-led investment. The funding saw participation from others, including TLcom Capital and Y Combinator. With the investment, Kobo360 aims to become more than a trucking transit app. “We started off as an app, but our goal is to build a global logistics operating system. We’re no longer an app, we’re a platform,” founder Obi Ozor told TechCrunch. In addition to connecting truckers, producers and distributors, the company is building that platform to offer supply chain management tools for enterprise customers. “Large enterprises are asking us for very specific features related to movement, tracking and sales of their goods. We either integrate other services, like SAP, into Kobo or we build those solutions into our platform directly,” said Ozor. Kobo360 will start by developing its API and opening it up to large enterprise customers. “We want clients to be able to use our Kobo dashboard for everything; moving goods, tracking, sales and accounting…and tackling their challenges,” said Ozor. Kobo360 will also build more physical presence throughout Nigeria to service its business. “We’ll open 100 hubs before the end of 2019…to be able to help operations collect proof of delivery, to monitor trucks on the roads and have closer access to truck owners for vehicle inspection and training,” said Ozor. Kobo360 will add more warehousing capabilities, “to support our reverse logistics business” — one of the ways the company brings prices down by matching trucks with return freight after they drop their loads, rather than returning empty, according to Ozor. Kobo360 will also use its $6 million investment to expand programs and services for its drivers,…

MallforAfrica goes global, Kobo360 and Sokowatch raise VC, France explains its $76M fund

Jake Bright Contributor Jake Bright is a writer and author in New York City. He is co-author of The Next Africa. More posts by this contributor Harley-Davidson to expand EV lineup, may include scooters, bicycles Sokowatch closes $2 million seed round to modernize Africa’s B2B retail B2B e-commerce company Sokowatch closed a $2 million seed investment led by 4DX Ventures. Others to join the round were Village Global, Lynett Capital, Golden Palm Investments and Outlierz  Ventures. The Kenya-based company aims to shake up the supply chain market for Africa’s informal retailers. Sokowatch’s platform connects Africa’s informal retail stores directly to local and multi-national suppliers — such as Unilever and Proctor and Gamble — by digitizing orders, delivery and payments with the aim of reducing costs and increasing profit margins. “With both manufacturers and the small shops, we’re becoming the connective layer between them, where previously you had multiple layers of middle-men from distributors, sub-distributors, to wholesalers,” Sokowatch founder and CEO Daniel Yu told TechCrunch. “The cost of sourcing goods right now…we estimate we’re cutting that cost by about 20 percent [for] these shopkeepers,” he said. “There are millions of informal stores across Africa’s cities selling hundreds of billions worth of consumer goods every year,” said Yu. These stores can use Sokowatch’s app on mobile phones to buy wares directly from large suppliers, arrange for transport and make payments online. “Ordering on SMS or Android gets you free delivery of products to your store, on average, in about two hours,” said Yu. Sokowatch generates revenues by earning “a margin on the goods that we’re selling to shopkeepers,” said Yu. On the supplier side, they also benefit from “aggregating demand…and getting bulk deals on the products that we distribute.” The company recently launched a line of credit product to extend working capital loans to platform clients. With the $2 million round, Sokowatch — which currently operates in Kenya and Tanzania — plans to “expand to new markets in East Africa, as well as pilot additional value add services to the shops,” said Yu. MallforAfrica and DHL launched MarketPlaceAfrica.com: a global e-commerce site for select African artisans to sell wares to buyers…

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