Kobo360 is a logistics startup that helps both individuals and SMEs deliver goods to both local and international locations. The target market is people who can’t afford to use big logistic companies, like say FedEx, to get their stuff around. Kobo’s selling point is that they are cheaper by about 40% and they are quicker – goods are delivered locally within 48 hours and international deliveries take a maximum of 72 hours.
How they are able to do this is through partnerships with larger courier companies. What Kobo does is aggregate supply with logistics providers who already have the infrastructure they need (i.e. they partner with providers based on their areas of strength).
They’ve partnered with companies like Chisco Transport (for local deliveries) and DHL (for international deliveries), and these partnerships give them the avenue to help businesses send goods affordably with almost no geographical barrier. For example, because they work with DHL, Kobo has access to 220 countries and they can make cross-country deliveries like shipping from China to Australia. They also have smaller partners across Nigeria that help with moving agricultural produce for large farms.
Because Kobo doesn’t spend a lot of money and personnel on infrastructure, they have the bandwidth to help businesses with other things apart from moving their goods from one location to another. For instance, they’ve helped some of their clients who run on only Excel build proper infrastructure like websites, CRM, and payment solutions.
Kobo360 was founded by Obi Ozor, who’s the former Director of Operations for Uber Nigeria, and his friend Ife Oyedele. They both did a lot of import and export between 2009 and 2014, so they are not particularly new to the logistics business. Obi even had a fleet of about 11 tipper trucks when he was 19 and that was where he learnt the basics of logistics. In his words, “If you can manage tipper drivers, you can manage anyone.”
Obi handles operations while Ife handles all tech matters. Other members of the Kobo360 team are Bolanile Olatunji (she also worked at Uber Nigeria but as the Marketing Manager) who manages Kobo’s marketing on a part time basis, and Ife Adetoye who’s the Chief Financial Officer.
Cofounder Obi is confident in their business model and doesn’t seem to be all that bothered about competition. “We believe in the efficient market theory where it says that customers will always choose that which is best for them. We are doing more for them, so our marriage is perfect,” he says.
The Kobo360 team are working on rolling out a service they call ‘Move4Kobo’ locally. It’s already available for international deliveries and it involves enlisting travellers to transport parcels.
The plan is to power 5000 SMEs before 31 December, 2016 and increase that number to 60% of all businesses in Nigeria by 2020. According to Obi, “We don’t really worry ourselves about the money, because once we are able to provide our solution to at least 60% of the 75 million businesses in Nigeria, we can be sure to be worth more than $20 billion.”