When we launched in Nigeria three years ago, the country was facing a tough economic recession which left many SMEs and large enterprises vulnerable. Logistics costs were going through the roof and the agro-community suffered extreme losses from damaged goods due to poor logistics.
My co-founder and I started Kobo360 to solve what was then seen as an insurmountable problem; to increase productivity and transparency in the supply chain, and minimise costs and errors.
Time after time, we’ve seen other startup sectors in Africa take the spotlight, especially when it comes to funding — such as e-commerce, fintech, agritech and healthtech — now is the time for us to bring the logistics sector to the forefront of innovation on the continent. If we are truly going to solve big problems that our continent faces, we need to get Africa moving. Now.
Since launching Kobo360, we’ve been focused on ruthless execution. We’ve served close to 1,463 businesses, aggregated a fleet of over 10,000 trucks, moved 297 million kilograms of cargo and achieved 96% reliability — the numbers are speaking for themselves, although of course we are focussed on growing these output levels aggressively each and every quarter. We have stood at the forefront of African logistics, a market estimated to be valued at $150bn, and have been able to reduce logistic frictions and challenges in the supply chain via a combination of Internet of things, mobile technology and data analytics.
Last December, we announced that Kobo360 had closed on a $6m seed funding round from the IFC, TLcom and Y Combinator. The capital will enable us to bring order, transparency and accountability to the global logistics supply chain — starting with Africa first. We have since started operations in Togo, home to West Africa’s busiest port — Port of Lome, and launched a new Global Logistics App, designed to enhance the speed, transparency and real-time monitoring of cargo delivery.
Today, we’re excited to announce that we have officially launched in our third African market: Ghana.
Why Ghana? Each African country we’ve chosen to expand into in 2019 has its unique value proposition. Not only is Ghana expected to be the fastest-growing economy in the world, up by 8.8%, Ghana’s Port of Tema, the third-busiest in West Africa, is undergoing an expansion that will quadruple its cargo-handling capacity from 836,000 TEUs to 3.5 million TEUs. $1Bn has been invested in a new terminal, that will meet the needs of the port, as the region, in general, continues to build out its capacity. Our job is to ensure that the ports, and the supply chain, is well supported in order to ensure a smooth ongoing journey for the cargo.
By having a presence in Accra, we are in a better position to link all the markets to a Global Logistics System that will help us to serve our customers across a seamlessly lined Pan-African market. We are also very well placed to continue the strong work we have already started with Nigeria, where we cover 80% of the country and Togo.
In 2019, we need to aggressively penetrate the African market — one country at a time, build a dedicated, locally focussed ground force that will ensure we build a company the continent can be proud of. So, where to next? Kenya. This is where the Port of Mombasa, East Africa’s largest port resides. We already have a homegrown team running our operations in Nairobi and are excited to officially launch in May.
Kobo360 is no longer a Nigerian company but an African one.