Kenyan Logistics Startup Sendy Raises $20M in a Round Backed by Toyota

By Mark Kawalya

The logistics space on the African landscape has gained yet another multi-million-dollar round courtesy of international backing. 

Kenyan startup Sendy, which runs an on-demand platform that links customers to drivers and trucks for haulage purposes, raised $20 million through a Series B spearheaded by Atlantica Ventures.  

Similarly, Toyota Tshusho Corporation, an investment and trade subsidiary of automotive giant Toyota, joined the round. 

Sendy’s investment closely follows that of Nigerian trucking and logistics startup Kobo360, which raised $20 million through a Series A that was backed by Goldman Sachs. Comparably, East African on-demand delivery enterprise Lori Systems received an investment injection of $30 million backed by Chinese investors.

With the investment, Sendy ramped up its competitive stance in Africa’s startup logistics space and expanded into the West African market, CEO Mesh Alloys said. 

Alloys co-founded Sendy in 2015 with Kenyans Evanson Biwott and Don Okoth, as well as American Malaika Judd. Before the expansion, the firm had offices in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, boasting over 5,000 vehicles on its platform that move all manner of goods. 

Additionally, the firm has more than 50,000 clients, which includes more than 4,000 businesses in cities in Kenya such as Kisumu, Thika, Mombasa and Nairobi. With more than 80 employees, Sendy offers freight delivery services for a wide portfolio of clients, which includes e-commerce retailers Jumia, Unilever, Safaricom and Maersk.

As compared to companies like Uber, Sendy uses an asset-free model that capitalizes on a mobile app to link driver-owned vehicles, to confirm deliveries, and create performance metrics and manage payments. 

In terms of its revenue model, “We take a percentage of each transaction. We also facilitate services for drivers like insurance, health insurance, vehicle financing, vehicle servicing and fuel credits, ” said Alloys.

According to Alloys, the firm will use its Series B funding to hire new staff and carry out a concerted tech upgrade.  

“Getting better operational efficiency is super key, so we’ll invest…in engineering teams and data team and deploying talent to improve the services that we give our customers,” he added.

The $20 million round Sendy received, includes a R&D arrangement with Toyota Tsusho Corporation, which came from a venture arm the firm established specifically for Africa, called Mobility 54. 

Alloys points to the firm’s systems as how it plans to outpace rivals like Kobo360 and Lori systems. “Our customer service is superior and that’s driven by our technology. I think we’re miles ahead of our competition today when it comes to tech,” he said.

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