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In today’s edition:
Quick Fire 🔥
Writing code changed her life
TC Insights: Funding Tracker
Sendy is moving into West Africa’s logistics space
QUICK FIRE WITH YVONNE OKORO 🔥
Yvonne Okoro is a communications professional passionate about telling the right stories for companies. She currently works with the marketing team at TeamApt.
Explain your job to a five-year-old
I build relationships and craft interesting, believable stories, so people can believe what they see and read about my company.
What’s something you wish you knew earlier in your career/life?
Clarity comes from actions. It’s okay to keep taking little steps even when you can’t figure out the end.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received in your career?
I think it would be “Everyone has a unique career journey. Don’t compare.”
What (singular) achievement are you most proud of?
Hmmm… Using my network to partner with Microsoft for an event I organised, which had an attendance of over 50 graduates.
Tell us about something you love doing that you’re terrible at. And tell us about something you really do not like doing that you’re great at.
Love doing and terrible at: solving puzzles.
Do not like doing but great at: cooking.
What new ways of doing things will you keep from this past year?
Using social media for my professional needs.
HOW CODING CHANGED HER LIFE
When Kemi received a rejection email from Twitter about a software engineering role she’d applied to, she was devastated.
It wasn’t her first rejection.
She’d previously aced Palantir’s recruitment process for the same role and was going to travel for the final interview, on-site, when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out and thwarted that plan. Kemi had also received nos from Google, Amazon, and Apple.
The companies had one common feedback for Kemi: she was slow in responding to their coding assessments, slow at coming up with solutions.
Kemi, like most of us, also had a reason: she already had a demanding, full-time job that took up most of her time.
But she persisted.
After all, writing code had already changed her life once when she pivoted from hawking dried fish on a university campus, to working for Konga, and then remotely for a company based in Germany.
Her persistence helped her clinch a position at the world’s biggest financial data and news company, Bloomberg.
This week, Nigerian B2B payments startup, Verto, closed a $10m Series A round led by Quona Capital, alongside The Treasury, Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), TMT Investments, Unicorn Growth Capital, Zrosk Investments and P1 Ventures.
Here are the other deals for the week:
Moroccan B2B e-commerce startup, Chari secured $5 million in a seed round co-led by Rocket Internet, Global Founders Capital and P1 Ventures. Other investors were Plug and Play, Y Combinator, Village Capital, MetLife Foundation, Orange Ventures, AirAngels, SPE Capital, Pincus Private Equity, Reflect Ventures and the Chandaria family.
Tunisian big data startup, Biware, secured $1.2 million in seed funding from CDC Gestion and Zitouna Capital.
Klasha, a cross-border fintech startup, raised $2.4 million in seed funding from Greycroft with added investment from Seedcamp, Berrywood Capital, AVG Basecamp Fund, Practical VC, Plug and Play, First Round VC, Expert Dojo, 2.12 Angels, MiLA Capital and some angel investors.
Join the Future Africa Collective – an exclusive community of investors who invest in startups building the future of Africa. With a $1,000 annual or a $300 quarterly subscription fee, you get access to invest a minimum of $2,500 in up to 20 fast-growing African startups each year.
SENDY IS MOVING INTO WEST AFRICA’S LOGISTICS SPACE
This week, Kamtar, a digital logistics startup operating in French-speaking West Africa, announced a Series A funding led by Sendy, Mobility 54 – the corporate venture capital subsidiary of CFAO and Toyota Tsusho Corporation, which itself is a trade and investment arm of Japanese automotive company Toyota – alongside venture capital firm, Saviu Ventures.
On the surface, the news is just one of many funding announcements out of Africa’s tech startup ecosystem. However, a deeper dive shows an alliance being formed, with the intention of taking on the digital logistics landscape in West Africa.
Founded in 2018, Kamtar is a digital logistics startup that connects consignors of goods and logistics operators with over 5,000 drivers registered on its platform.
After the fundraising, it plans to launch value-added services for drivers (such as gas, insurance, financing, spare parts, etc.) to help them save money on fixed and variable costs while planning to expand into other countries by the end of 2022.
An impending boom
With the coming-into-effect of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement in January 2021, the World Bank expects an increase in intra-African trade from $294 billion to $532 billion in 2035. A working logistics sector is crucial in an era of increasing trade activity and volume. Goods must be exchanged efficiently across country borders.
However, Africa’s traditional logistics sector is largely informal, fragmented and anything but efficient. A number of startups have emerged over the years, solving this challenge using technology – Nigeria’s Kobo360 and Kenya’s Sendy and Lori Systems are standouts.
The aforementioned startups have all plotted expansions into each other’s markets and the broader African market.
Sendy has a long-term strategy to become a pan-African logistics platform and, in addition to providing capital, is partnering with Kamtar to realise this vision. Under the partnership, Sendy is expected to bring its deep tech expertise and larger range of services to reinforce Kamtar’s operation and scaling in West Africa while the latter is to bring its customer network in French-speaking West Africa.
In the region, Kobo360 is an established player and has a presence in Ivory Coast, one of Kamtar’s only two markets, with the other being Senegal. But Arthur Thuet, one of the co-founders of Kamtar, is confident the startup can keep its own turf.
“Ivory Coast is our main country. We’ve been operating there for four years. We’ve created a network, expertise, and a strong relationship with our customers,” he told TechCabal. “We know the Kobo360 team. They’re good and we get on well, but they’re not going to replicate easily what we’ve done.”
Zoom out: Being go-to-market partners with Kamtar will definitely spare Sendy years of effort and investment it would have required to establish a fresh footprint in West Africa. And with its latest round, Kamtar should up its competitive stance in the space as it looks to protect and expand its share of the market against Kobo360.
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