Technology giant Google is supporting Kenya-based e-logistics platform Lori Systems with an undisclosed investment as part of the logistics start-up’s most recent funding round, the companies said today.
Lori Systems provides trucking and logistics services across Africa, digitizing haulage and helping shippers more efficiently manage cargo operations and transportation. The company’s goal is to lower the cost of goods in Africa, where 75% of the price of a product is attributed to logistics—as compared to 6% in the United States—company leaders said, citing industry reports.
This is the third investment Google has made from its $50 million Africa Investment Fund, which the company launched last October to support local start-ups. The fund is part of a larger Google initiative to invest $1 billion over the next five years in technology-based initiatives across the continent.
“At Google, we understand the transformative power digitisation can bring to the African continent. There is so much potential in the region, but it's only through innovation that this can be fully unlocked,” Nitin Gajria, Google’s managing director for Sub-Saharan Africa, said in a press release. “Lori Systems is a great example of how technology can be scalable across Africa, and how, in turn, this can drive meaningful economic development. We're excited to see where the future takes a business like this.”
Logistics companies face a range of business obstacles in Africa, including fragmented supply and demand markets, inconsistent pricing, paper-based documentation processes, and little or no access to financing. Lori Systems helps ease those pain points by connecting shippers to transportation and digitizing their supply chain operations–from securing transportation to documentation and payments, according to the company. Since its founding in 2017, the logistics firm has helped thousands of shippers and carriers move more than $10 billion worth of cargo across the continent, company leaders said.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), established in 2018, is expected to generate $21.9 billion in untapped trade potential across the region, according to company leaders.
“Our vision of the future of logistics in Africa is one that is digital, scalable and more efficient,” said Lori Systems CEO Uche Ogboi. “We have been successful, achieving up to 20% price reduction for cargo owners and nearly 2x increase in truck utilization for transporters on our platform. We are excited about this funding as it will allow us to continue driving superior efficiencies across logistics on the continent.”