Kenya’s tech-enabled logistics platform Amitruck has raised $4 million in seed funding. The seed round which was led by Better Tomorrow Ventures (BTV) saw the participation of Dynamo Ventures, Rackhouse Venture Capital, Flexport Inc, Knuru Capital, Launch Africa ventures, Uncovered Fund and a host of angel investors.
According to Mark Mwangi, founder and CEO of Amitruck, “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 offers tech-enabled logistics solutions that simplify operations and processes in the shipping market. Amitruck has done well for itself in Kenya and is preparing to venture into Tanzania and Uganda where it says there is a huge opportunity for its business. The goal is to be the regional go-to platform for shippers and transporters whose operations involve movement within a country and across borders.
Amitruck started operations in 2019 as a digital logistics marketplace connecting shippers with transporters operating trucks, vans, three-wheelers, motorbikes, etc., and allowing them to negotiate prices. Through the platform, shippers can also add custom services such as off-loading etc. Transporters ratings are made public so that shippers can make choices based on a number of factors including, the number of trips completed, etc. The platform’s founder explained “Amitruck connects shippers directly with transporters and provides a platform where you can get secure competitively priced transport. In an informal setting, you can have up to three middlemen between a transporter and the cargo owner or shipper. And these guys can cause several problems; including claiming up to 60% of the delivery fee, and if something happens to your load (loss or damage), it’s very difficult for you to get compensated. For shippers, it is very hard for them to compare the quality and level of service they’re going to get. So, it’s quite manual, tedious, and very difficult to know who’s good [at what they do] and who’s not.”
Speaking on Amitruck and the funding round, Better Tomorrow Ventures (BTV) general partner Jake Gibson said “As an investor in a unicorn CloudTruck startup here in the US, we have in-depth knowledge of the operational and financial requirements from truckers. 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 has more than 300 B2B customers which include Unilever, L’Oreal, SkyGarden, Twiga, etc. The goods ferried by Amitruck’s partners are insured. Besides, the startup provides operational support. “We’re a one-stop shop, when you connect with us, you literally offload the headache of transport”, Amitruck’s founder said.
Amitruck also boasts of more than 8,000 vehicles registered on its platform and the founder mentioned that the company’s revenue increased by 1,000 percent in 2021 from 400 percent in 2020.
Mark Mwangi, who hasn’t always been in the logistic business thinks there are endless and untapped opportunities in the sector. “The opportunity is massive. The majority of this market is still controlled by the middlemen. Followed closely by our customers’ own vehicles. In Africa, 99% of goods have to use a vehicle of some type. We really don’t use that much in terms of waterway or air. And at the moment, it can cost up to five times more than it does in more developed markets to move those goods”, he said.