Last week marked three years since Ife and I officially launched Kobo360. A whole three years. We were two young American-educated guys who were hungry to “disrupt” Africa’s logistics sector. Impossible, right? “Obi, you dream too big” I’ve lost count how many times I’ve heard this or similar. As I look at where the company is today, I can truly state that what we have achieved in the last three years is far beyond the dreams we had when we started Kobo. There are lessons to be learned and for us, it comes down to believing in the impossible.
Reality is, all we have is bottlenecks in Africa and the Middle East, but at Kobo, we refuse to understand or acknowledge the difficulties of doing logistics. The reason why we stand so strong after three years of operations is that we try not to understand the impossible; because once you begin to understand it, you simply cannot move. If we understand it is difficult to encourage transporters to use an app, they won’t use it; if we understand that truck drivers can’t acquire their own fleet vehicle, ownership would be a myth; if we understand that an African startup cannot become global, it’ll never happen.
Kobo360 has reached a unique scale and level of expertise that meets our customers’ critical logistics business needs. Logistics is a business rooted in trust. The businesses we serve don’t sign up with us just because we can do logistics, they rely on us to figure out how to jump through the hoops of infrastructure deficit – and we deliver. Our customers are our biggest advocate, their expectations of us literally pushed us to be the leader in our industry.
Through our agressive growth strategy, we’ve strengthened our business. We’ve onboarded over 50,000 trucks and drivers on our platform, moved over 2 billion kg of goods, launched in Côte d’Ivoire in the midst of the pandemic – today, we have a physical presence in 6 countries and move goods across 16 African markets. Because of Kobo, thousands of drivers earn a dependable income and can save towards what matters to them – whether it be school fees, antenatal or setting up a transporter business.
2020 has been an interesting year; the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world by a big surprise. In true Kobo-fashion, the Squad swiftly implemented measures to mitigate risk and ensure continuity in order to keep the wheels of Africa moving. It was at this point that we decided to accelerate the launch of our Global Logistics Operating System [G-LOS] which provided remote access to the supply chain and enabled businesses to continue as usual. G-LOS will also power trade and commerce across Africa, meaning we’ll be ready to take up space once the AfCFTA comes into effect in the New Year.
I am grateful for the opportunity to work with talented, dedicated and ambitious people in tech and logistics. Many of our Squad joined the company because, like me, they love solving big challenges. If we spend a couple of hours on a particular challenge as a team, we will without a doubt figure out how to bypass the problem. What makes Kobo360 most exciting for me is that we are aggressive with our dreams and goals; it is part of the Kobo DNA. Believe me, when I say, their commitment to thinking big has been integral to Kobo’s progress and success.
The journey hasn’t been easy but it’s been worth it. It takes a level of boldness, passion and perseverance to accomplish what we have in a few short years – and we still have a long way to go. In fact, we have barely scratched the surface. Ife and I always ask ourselves the following questions: Are we focused? Are we flexible? Are we executing as we should? You see, dreaming is great, however, a dream without focus or flexibility is a crash waiting to happen. As we enter a new chapter, we will continue to push the boundaries and execute. I know Kobo360 is going to be a global powerhouse in the next few decades – that’s what I preach to our stakeholders. It’s how I want people to envision Kobo360 when they see or hear of us.
As we celebrate our 3rd anniversary, Ife and I would like to say a huge thank you to everybody who believed in our vision from the beginning and has supported us up until this moment – all our investors, stakeholders, clients and of course all our Squad. Let’s continue to believe in the impossible together.
Happy 3rd Birthday Kobo!