KENYA – Amitruck, a tech-enabled logistics platform aiming to simplify Africa’s shipping business, has received seed funding of US$4 million to improve its technical, operational, and sales teams in preparation for expansion into Tanzania and Uganda.
The current investment, which raises the total amount of money invested in the firm to US$5 million, comes as Amitruck appears to be the go-to platform for shippers and transporters operating in-country and cross-border business in the region.
Better Tomorrow Ventures (BTV) (USA) led the seed round, which included investors such as Dynamo Ventures (Tennessee), Rackhouse Venture Capital (CA, USA), Flexport Inc (CA, USA), Knuru Capital (Dubai, UAE), Launch Africa Ventures (Ebene, Mauritius), Uncovered Fund (Tokyo, Japan), and a number of angel investors.
“The most important purpose of this round is hiring. We are also improving our technology as we start our expansion into other countries in Africa,” Amitruck founder and chief executive officer Mark Mwangi said in a statement.
Amitruck has acquired considerable traction since its last funding. Amitruck has over 8,000 vehicles 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.
The startup’s founding team also played a great role in convincing investors to back it in this round. Mwangi, a former investment banker, wasn’t always in the logistics industry. After his father died, he had to work nights driving trucks to fund his tuition at the City University of London, where he studied mathematics.
Following that, he became a member of the management team of Bluecrest Capital Management, a British-American hedge fund, where he was responsible for the operations of a variety of private assets in Canada, Ecuador, and China.
He eventually departed for Pictet Asset Management, where he ascended through the ranks to become an Equities portfolio manager, a job he resigned in 2017 to pursue his dream of starting his own business.
“As an investor in a unicorn CloudTruck startup here in the U.S., we have in-depth knowledge of the operational and financial requirements from truckers,” BTV’s general partner Jake Gibson said.
“While the trucking and logistic business in Africa has grown tremendously over the years, the pace of innovation particularly in its administration has been slow. Amitruck’s solution is ideal for bringing the industry into the 21st century.”
Amitruck, a 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 more than 300 B2B customers in Kenya. They also work with individual consumers, such as those who are relocating.