How did Kobo360 start? (Tell us your startup story)
During the recession in Nigeria, we noticed how much of a problem logistics costs were for SMEs and large enterprises; Kobo360 was started to minimize costs as well as increase productivity and transparency in the supply chain. We were in beta launch for a year and although this was during a tough time for the economy, the benefits have been clear to see. For example, before we launched, it could take nearly a week to move goods 1,000km across in Nigeria – now that same journey takes around three days.
Can you state, in clear language, the key features of your product or service?
Imagine Uber for the logistics industry. Kobo360 connects cargo owners, truck owners, truck drivers and cargo recipients at scale; we enable cargo owners to schedule trips ahead of truck positioning, load goods within a few hours and have full visibility on the trip status of their goods. The Kobo app, available for drivers and customers, includes a range of innovative features including real-time visibility on cargo and trucks, digitized wage bills, multi-language functions to facilitate intra- African trade and tools which allow drivers and customers to judge the price of a trip before they select it. This is the first-of-its-kind for transportation apps.
Who are your ideal customers?
We’re looking to attract truck drivers and cargo owners such as Agribusinesses, FMCGs, Manufacturers and Distributors. Since going live in December 2017, we’ve served over 1,480 businesses including large enterprises such as Flour Mills of Nigeria, DHL and Lafarge. We also cater to the SME market in order to help them fulfill their short term and long term logistics needs.
What type of work culture does your company have?
At Kobo360, everyone is a squad focused on delivering a high-quality service for our customers in a fast paced industry. That means we’re all dedicated to making our activities faster and more efficient for businesses. We’re a diverse team with large ambitions and I think that’s been reflected in how much activity we’ve had recently.
What are some of the challenges you face as a company?
In terms of regulation, Africa is quite fragmented making it difficult at times to transport goods through landlocked areas. However, with the AFCFTA agreement looking more likely, this should hopefully change. It would save a huge amount of time for our truckers and make our services a lot more efficient. The ultimate goal for us is creating a Global Logistics Operating System (G-LOS) which will mean a quicker transport of goods at lower costs.
Who are your potential competitors in Africa?
The logistics space is a competitive one with a lot of companies doing great work, but I think where we stand out is the level of trust our customers put in us to get their businesses moving. Our reliability score stands at 96% and this data coming from the 1,480 businesses we’ve served. Everything comes down to the fact we understand our customers and are just as concerned about the speed of transporting their goods as they are.
What does the future look like for Kobo360?
We’ve started strongly in Nigeria, where we cover 80% of the country, as well as in Togo and Ghana. Before the end of 2019, we want to be in nine African countries. In fact, we will soon officially launch in Kenya where the Port of Mombasa, East Africa’s largest port, inhabits – we already have a local team running our operations in Kenya. By expanding our presence and reach in Africa, we’re in a better position to connect all the markets to a Global Logistics system, which I believe will create a
huge amount of value for our customers across the continent.