MVX. a Nigerian-based digital freight startup, has raised a $1.3 million seed round to scale its services.
The funding came from Kepple Africa, The Continent Venture Partners, Founders Factory, Launch Africa, and Capital Oak. Some angel investors in the U.S., Japan, Nigeria, and South Africa also participated in the round.
MVX will use the investment to scale its operations, hire staff and improve its technology. It is also talking to investors to raise more money, most likely debt, for its trade financing product.
Founded in 2019 by Tonye Membere-Otaji and Tobi Amusan, MVX is building digital pipelines to connect Africa to global trade by employing technology to keep processes efficient and costs lower, closely working with its partners and employees to create a unique experience for its customers and accelerating trade in Africa by bringing MVX to more countries across the continent. The startup launched the same year after securing a $100,000 pre-seed investment from Oui Capital, a pan-African VC firm.
It started out as MVXchange. Its business model revolved around providing a support vessel booking platform that matched vessel chartering requests made by operators with available Offshore Support Vessels (OSVs).
However, in March 2020, the company made pivoted and tweaked its model citing uncertainties in oil prices and the pandemic as reasons behind the decision.
What followed was the launch of MVXtransit, a digital freight booking platform, helping cargo owners find deals on moving containers across Nigeria. This April, the company launched MVXpay, a finance and payment solution to provide trade finance for freight operators. However, both offerings are now offer in one suite: MVX.
The startup has already recorded more than 300 shipments this year but plans to end with 1,500.
Membere-Otaji said: “Our job really is to empower trade in Africa, and freight is a means to that. From every step involved in that process, from providing trade and finance to warehousing to payments processing, we want to play in all that space. There aren’t a lot of companies with that trading finance element doing that like us. And also, we see a huge potential in the offline market. Right now, the reason why we have this problem is that transactions are offline. Our strategy in capturing offline markets is also key.”
In a statement, Satoshi Shinada, general partner at Kepple Africa, said, “The trade sector in Africa is one that we believe is ripe for disruption. MVX is building a game-changing technology and platform to revolutionize how businesses in Africa move shipment and trade around the world.”