Amitruck, a Kenyan tech-enabled logistics platform, offers solutions to help the shipping sector run more smoothly.
After raising $4 million in initial capital (increasing the total funds raised to $5 million), the firm, which has had a strong start in Kenya, plans to enhance its technical, operational, and sales teams in order to prepare for expansion into Tanzania and Uganda.
The intentions come as it appears to be the go-to platform for shippers and transporters operating in-country and cross-border business in the region.
The seed round led by Better Tomorrow Ventures (BTV), included Dynamo Ventures, Rackhouse Venture Capital, Flexport Inc, Knuru Capital, Launch Africa Ventures, Uncovered Fund, and other angel investors.
The digital logistics platform that launched in 2019, connects shippers with carriers who operate trucks, vans, tuk-tuks (three-wheelers), pickup trucks, and motorcycles, allowing them to negotiate haulage prices.
The software also allows shippers to modify services, such as adding off-loading fees.
The site offers information such as a transporter’s rating and the average number of trips made, which aids shippers in narrowing down their options.
Once all sides have reached an agreement, the process can proceed.
Unilever, L’Oréal; a beauty brand, SkyGarden; an e-commerce platform, and Twiga; a fresh produce marketplace are among Amitruck’s B2B customers in Kenya.
They also work with individual consumers, such as those who are relocating.
Amitruck’s partners insure the products they transport. In addition, the startup offers operational assistance.
“When you connect with us, you essentially offload the headache of transportation,” Amitruck founder and chief executive officer Mark Mwangi explained.
Mwangi is upbeat about the future, claiming that the logistics industry has great prospects for businesses like his who are seeking to restore order to the market.
In his trip, he will face competition from other firms such as Lori Systems and Sendy, which began in Kenya before moving to other African countries, and Kobo360, which is based in Nigeria.
Amitruck has over 8,000 cars registered on its platform, and Mwangi claims that income increased by 1,000 percent in 2021, up from 400 percent the year before, as COVID highlighted the need to automate supply chain procedures.
Last year, the company was approved into the JICA-backed Ninja Accelerator program, as well as AbInbev’s Budstart Accelerator and Google’s Black Founders Fund Accelerator, all of which give non-dilutive finance.
“This is a huge opportunity.” The intermediaries still control the majority of this market. Our clients’ personal vehicles trailed closely after.
In Africa, 99 percent of commodities must be transported by car. In terms of waterways and air, we don’t use them all that much.
And, at the moment, moving such goods can cost up to five times as much as it does in more established markets,” Mwangi explained.
Africa’s transportation and logistics sector is predicted to boom, especially after the continent’s already-signed African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) takes effect, making it the world’s largest single market.