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Nigeria logistics firm Kobo360 has been accepted into YCombinator’s 2018 class and secured some working capital in the form of $1.2M in a pre-seed funding round led by Western Technology Investment. Lagos based Verod Capital Management also joined to support Kobo360.

The startup which connects Nigerian truckers to companies with freight needs will use the funds to pay drivers online immediately after successful hauls.

Kobo360 is also launching the Kobo Wealth Investment Network, or KoboWIN—a crowd-invest, vehicle financing program. Through it, Kobo drivers can finance new trucks through citizen investors and pay them back directly (with interest) over a 60 month period.

Obi Ozor said Kobo360 created the platform because of limited vehicle finance options for truckers in Nigeria.  His words: “We hope KoboWIN will inject 20,000 additional trucks on the Kobo platform,” he was reported to have said.

On Kobo360’s utility, “We give drivers the demand and technology to power their businesses,” said Ozor. “An average trucker will make $3,500 a month with our app. That’s middle-class territory in Nigeria.”

Kobo360 has served 324 businesses, aggregated a fleet of 5480 drivers, and moved 37.6M kilograms of cargo since 2017, per company stats. Top clients include Honeywell, Olam, Unilever, and DHL.

Ozor previously headed Uber Nigeria, before teaming up with Ife Oyodeli to co-found Kobo360. They initially targeted 3PL for Nigeria’s e-commerce boom — namely Jumia and Konga.

“We started doing last mile delivery…but the volume just wasn’t there for us, so we decided to pivot…to an asset free model around long-haul trucking,” said Ozor.

Kobo360 was accepted into YC’s Summer ’18 batch—receiving $120K for 7 percent equity—and will present at an August Demo Day in front of YC Investors. “We were impressed by both Obi and Ife as founders.  They were growing quickly and had a strong vision for the company,” YC partner Tim Brady told TechCrunch.

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“Owning trucks is just too difficult to manage. The best scalable model is to aggregate trucks,” he said. “We now have more trucks than providers like TSL and they’ve been here….years. By the end of this year, we plan to have 20,000 trucks on our app—probably more than anyone on this continent.”

On price, Ozor named the ability of the Kobo360 app to more accurately and consistently coordinate return freight trips once truckers have dropped off first loads.

“Logistics in Nigeria have been priced based on the assumption drivers are going to run empty on the way back…When we now match freight with return trips, prices crash.”

Kobo360 will expand in Togo, Ghana, CoteD’Ivoire, and Senegal. “We’ll be in Ghana this year and next year the other countries,” said Ozor.

Musa Suleiman
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