Kobo360, the company that connects truck owners and shipping customers through an Uber-like application, picked up the title of ‘Best e-Logistics Platform,’ bringing it one step closer to becoming the leading provider of e-logistics on the African Continent.
Kobo360’s new award testifies to the company’s progress
On the 29th of July, at the Movenpick Hotel in Kenya, Kobo360, the African E-logistics company that connects truck owners and shipping customers through an Uber-like application, picked up the title of ‘Best e-Logistics Platform.’ With this prestigious award from the Digital Tech 100 Awards, renowned for recognizing the top tech companies in Kenya and attended by key individuals and stakeholders in the logistics sector, Kobo360 is one step closer to achieving its goal of becoming the leading provider of e-logistics on the African Continent.
Despite low quality infrastructure throwing challenges at the company that are unique to the intra-African trade ecosystem; dilapidated railroads, poorly maintained road systems, high duty taxes, and excessive and often corrupt bureaucracies, Kobo360 already serves over 700 businesses on the continent. It has also acquired investment from high profile international groups including Goldman Sachs, who put $20 million of Series A funding into the company back in 2019.
Obi Ozor knows the challenges personally
Obi Ozor, co-founder of the e-logistics platform, began working in African logistics while a college student in the United States. While studying in Michigan, he made extra money by exporting goods to his home country of Nigeria. After working for JPMorgan in the states, he returned to his home country and worked as Uber Nigeria’s operations chief.
He has spoken about how he would send diapers and soap to Africa during his university years, and how ‘a 1,000 kilometer journey was taking 8 days, but it cost more than moving a container from the US to Nigeria.” Because of this experience, he knew that there was a need for a data-driven service that could help move goods efficiently and securely across the continent.
Connecting suppliers with truckers with customers
Given Ozor’s experience, it is perhaps no surprise that Kobo360’s model bears similarities to Uber, connecting suppliers and cargo owners with truck drivers through an online or mobile-based application. Through Kobo360, customers can schedule, book, track, and pay for goods to be moved.
Despite the basic idea being similar, Ozor has had to apply it to an entirely different market, one that comes with its own unique challenges. Kobo360 started operations in Nigeria in 2018, and it has since expanded to Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Benin Republic.
Helping truckers as well as customers
Ozor knows that the quality of trucks and experience of the drivers is key to solving many of Africa’s logistics challenges. With so many trucks bought second-hand in Africa, and infrastructure problems abounding, the company set out to make sure that their drivers, who are independent contractors, are not alone. To help, the company offers loans to purchase new vehicles, as well as support for those who are targeted with extortion attempts, both by police and by bandits, by dispatching rapid-response repair teams and coordinating with authorities in the event of a hijacking.
Kobo360 also guarantees truckers access to discounted diesel, tires, spare parts, and working capital. This approach clearly works, as the company now has over 50,000 registered truck owners on the platform.
Ready for the next free trade area
With Africa beginning its implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement in 2021, creating the world’s largest free trade zone across 54 countries with a collective GDP of close to $3 trillion, competition is sure to start. Free movement of goods and services will make it easier than ever to move goods between locations, a fact that many will be keen to exploit. Nonetheless, Kobo360 is well positioned to be at the forefront of a logistics revolution on the continent and the company is set to take advantage of this.