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African logistics platform Lori closes US$30m Series A round funding

KENYA – Lori Systems, an African logistics platform that connects cargo owners with truck fleets, has secured nearly US$30 million in a Series A round of financing led by Chinese investors Hillhouse Capital Group and Crystal Stream Capital.

Apoletto Asia, the investment vehicle of DST Global’s Russian billionaire founder Yuri Milner, seed stage-focused venture capital firm Timon Capital, investment firm Raba VC, innovative co-investment vehicle Endeavors Catalyst and others participated in the new round, according to a statement.

Lori Systems was launched in May 2017 in Kenya, where the transportation costs account for 75 per cent of product costs, compared to 16 per cent in the US.

Claimed to be the largest e-logistics service provider in East Africa, the company operates as an online platform that leverages on-the-ground operation team and technologies to connect cargo owners with truck fleets, helping them increase the utilization of trucking assets and realize on-time delivery to lower costs of goods in Africa.

The company now offers services in East African countries including Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

It also has a presence in West Africa’s Ghana and Nigeria, where it officially forayed into in late September 2019.

Lori Systems will use the proceeds to further improve technologies, products and business operations, as well as finance the construction of its executive team.

“As one of the first Chinese venture capital funds to venture into the African market, Crystal Stream Capital has conducted field visits and investigations to conclude that it is the best time to make investments in the region, due to Africa’s rapid economic growth, demographic dividend and booming mobile internet,” said Wang Mengqiu, founding partner of Crystal Stream Capital, in the statement.

In August 2019, the Chinese investment company led a seed round worth millions of U.S. dollars in GONA, a Chinese startup that offers cashless bus services and payment solutions with a focus on the Nigerian market.

Based in Nairobi, Lori has built a logistics platform that is revolutionising the cargo-transport value chain in Africa, from the ground up.

Lori enables the logistics space to operate at an order of magnitude more efficiently than it does today.

Higher efficiency through Lori has been demonstrated to drive costs down which, in turn is expected to create new jobs & stimulate overall economic development in a tangible way.

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