Lori Systems, an African on-demand logistics and trucking company that digitizes haulage and offers shippers a solution to manage their cargo and shipments, has raised a pre-Series B round in which Google participated along with other existing investors. In 2020, the company received a slightly higher valuation than its previous valuation of $110 million, sources said.
This undisclosed investment is Google’s third. 50 million dollars African investment fund The company’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, announced last October that it is targeting the continent’s first and growth-stage startups. The money is part of Google’s plan to invest. 1 billion dollars In the next five years in the “tech-mer initiative”. The news comes on the back of Google opening the continent’s first product development center in Nairobi, Kenya, the city where Lori Systems first launched.
Last December, Google announced its first investment in Ugandan super app SafeBoda. During the announcement, Nitin Gajria, Managing Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, said that the African Investment Fund will not limit itself to specific verticals and regions. “We’re focusing on investments where we believe Google can add value. If founders are building exciting products that solve real challenges in Africa, that falls right into our investment portfolio,” he said.
The following month, the fund participated in South African games publisher and studio Carry1st’s $20 million Series A expansion round at a16z. A spokesperson for Google, which recently invested in Lowry Systems — and when asked about the fund’s investment strategy, says that the investments come from three different sectors — told TechCrunch that strategic overlap is key to the startup’s African investment fund. verticals including fintech, logistics, e-commerce and local language content.
In Africa, more than 180 billion dollars are used for transportation every year, and reports indicate that logistics covers more than 70 percent of the product value. By comparison, 6 percent of logistics operations in the United States impact products, leading operators to a variety of problems, from inconsistent pricing, a fragmented supply and demand market, paper documents, and little or no access to financing.
Companies like Lowry cut costs in their on-demand logistics and trucking marketplaces, connecting shippers with transportation, moving cargo, expanding working capital facilities and developing software to manage their operations. Lori’s statement Since its launch in 2016, it has helped thousands of shippers and carriers move cargo valued at more than $10 billion across the continent, he said.
In the year The winner of the 2017 TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa is currently located in Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria. In the year In 2019, we reported the company’s Series A round, which several publications quoted between $20-30 million, by Imperial Logistics (recently acquired by Dubai Ports World). Lowry raised a total of $38.2 million, according to Crunchbase. Competitors include Kobo360, Sendy and Sote.
Since the last increase was about three years ago, I asked the CEO, Uche Ogbo, why one of the most well-funded logistics companies on the continent took Lori and opted for an extension rather than a new price. Circle. Lori said that since the last funding round, she has remained focused on growth, sustainability and a path to profitability. According to the CEO, the company has significantly expanded its product range and now offers a fully digital transportation management platform, which was developed in response to the pandemic, which disrupted the business of shippers and carriers. The new products have tripled transaction volume, doubling the volume of products on the market, she said.
“At this stage of our journey and in the current market, we made a strategic decision to extend Series A rather than raise Series B inconveniently,” Ogbo said in an email regarding the company’s fundraising efforts and current VC. Landscaping. “We are excited about this opportunity to partner with Google and look forward to reassessing our investment options in the first half of next year.” Lori wants to use the new funds to scale new product lines and reach profitability, added Jean-Claude Hommeau, co-founder and chief product officer.
It is not known how much the Google Africa investment fund invested in Safeboda and Carry1st in this round. However, it is worth noting that the fund – which, according to a spokesperson, does not intend to lead investments but engages in extension agreements, primarily through convertible notes, with “senior investors with regional presence and local expertise.”
“At Google, we understand the transformative power digitization can bring to the African continent. There is a lot of potential in the region but this can only be fully unlocked through innovation,” Gajria commented on Google’s involvement. “Lori Systems is a great example of how technology can expand across Africa and how this can lead to meaningful economic growth.