Competition Heats Up In African Logistics Markets As Kenyan Firm Enters Nigerian Turf

Written by Peter Pedroncelli
digital logistics firm
Kenyan digital logistics firm Lori has expanded into Nigeria, where it will be competing with Kobo360, known as the “Uber for Trucks”, in its own turf. Lori Systems’ digital logistics platform connects cargo owners to transportation. Image: Lori Systems

Kenyan digital logistics firm Lori Systems has expanded into Nigeria, where it will be competing with Kobo360, known as the “Uber for Trucks”, on its own turf.

Lori’s digital logistics platform connects cargo owners to transportation. The startup aims to leverage technology to reduce inefficiencies in the logistics chain by providing real-time tracking and optimization. Lori offers access to working capital in the form of fuel financing and truck insurance.

Lori’s expansion into Nigeria means that it is now competing with Kobo360, which is backed by Silicon Valley-based accelerator Y Combinator and Goldman Sachs

Ahead of the Nigerian expansion, Lori worked with some of Nigeria’s major cargo companies including Olam International, Honeywell Flour Mills and Flour Mills of Nigeria during a 10-month pilot project, according to a press release.

Launched in 2016 by co-founders Joshua Sandler and Gichini Ngaruiya, Lori claims to be the largest e-logistics service provider in Kenya.

Lori co-founders Joshua Sandler (left) and Gichini Ngaruiya (right) accept their prize as one of the startup winners of the 2017 TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa competition.

Uche Ogboi, Lori’s chief operating officer, explained her company’s goals as it enters Africa’s biggest economy and most populous country.

“Our mission in Nigeria is to create a more efficient logistics experience for cargo owners who are burdened with the task of moving their goods across the country. We have successfully created a digital platform to enable the movement of goods through a transparent supply chain management system that is affordable, reliable and flexible,” she said in the press release.

In 2018, Lori reached a total of $6.1 million in funding and expanded into Rwanda, Uganda, and South Sudan.

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Competing with Kobo360 in its home market

Nigeria is Kobo360’s home market, where its platform covers more than 80 percent of the country.

Kobo360 announced its expansion into Kenya, Lori’s home market, in August, following the Nigerian company’s launch in other markets including Uganda, Togo and Ghana, according to a Kobo360 blog post.

Kobo360 raised $30 million of funding in August, taking its total funding since it launched in 2017 to $37.3 million, Crunchbase reports.

Uber for trucks digital logistics firm

The Nigerian company took part in the Y Combinator accelerator program in July 2018 and YC has been an investor ever since.

Kobo360 has partnered with global logistics brands including Dangote Group, DHL, Unilever, and Lafarge. It has serviced more than 1,450 businesses and aggregates a fleet of 10,000 drivers and trucks.

Kobo360 expects to expand into 10 new countries in Central and Southern Africa by the end of 2020, CNBCAfrica reports.