Haul247, a Nigerian end-to-end logistics platform connecting businesses to haulage and warehousing assets, has raised a $3 million seed round. Gender-lens investing fund Alitheia Capital provided the equity capital, with Investment One contributing $1 million in debt financing.
The logistics startup allows small businesses and large companies to book trucks and warehouses across multiple African geolocations. It has over 1,000 trucks on its platform and about 151,000 square meters of warehouse space across various locations, the company said in a statement.
Haul247’s proprietary software enables individuals, enterprises, manufacturers, and FMCGs to book logistics services by taking an order request from a shipper, attaching a quote, and then matching the request with the most suitable truck and warehouse for efficient fulfillment. Companies looking for warehouse facilities go through the same process, as the system allows shippers to track their goods’ status until they reach their destination.
CEO Sehinde Afolayan founded Haul247 after terrible logistics and warehousing services affected his previous agriculture business. And despite the presence of many logistics firms, Afolayan, buoyed by his 15 years of experience in the African supply chain business, decided to launch Haul247 with his co-founders Tobi Obasa and Akindele Phillips in 2020.
“At my former business, I wanted to buy about three trailer loads of soya beans and after agreeing on the price and paying for it, when I got there to where the grains were stored, I couldn’t access a trailer and most of the grains had turned to powder,” Afolayan narrated. “We figured we could use tech to solve problems like these for not only multinationals but also farmers.”
Afolayan believes that logistics platforms in Africa that do not solve warehousing challenges will be more “costly, inefficient, and risky” down the line. Therefore, Haul247, in its ambition to become “Africa’s Airbnb for trucks and warehouses,” says its distinct offering of comprehensive warehousing services, positioning itself as a one-stop logistics solution, sets it apart from other platforms. The startup actively participates in the overall logistics workflow’s primary and secondary distribution processes by employing a model that integrates haulage and warehousing. Larger upstarts in this market category include Kobo360 and Lori.
Haul247’s technology also manages internal processes, from tracking shipments to asset utilization. The company is working on introducing an electronic proof of delivery feature to replace the traditional physical copies typically exchanged between suppliers and truck owners.
“Right now, we’re trying to facilitate an alternative of physical proof of delivery that serves the same purpose, shortens the time to get paid and provides insights into transactions,” Tobi remarked. “Once we do that, we’ll be the first to introduce it in the market.”
Haul247 claims to have over 21 multinationals on its platform, with 16 active. The CEO says the three-year-old logistics firm, which records a 20% to 22% gross margin while growing 50% month-on-month in revenue, has reached positive unit economics. As a result, the company, whose asset utilization is as high as 95%, according to its executives, is projecting to close the year with $5 million in annual revenue.
Afolayan comments that with the new investment, Haul247 will be looking to capture more market share, to about 20%, and increase the number of multinationals on its platform to 50, easing its expansion into other African countries where they are present. Meanwhile, the founders pointed out that the timing of Haul247’s fundraising aligns with the critical importance of logistics for the success of The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
As experts worldwide recognize, logistics plays a vital role in driving development, and the World Economic Forum predicts a 28% increase in demand for intra-African freight by 2030, which Haul247 intends to play a part in. “We plan to take advantage of AFCTA, look at new African countries and create value for stakeholders, asset owners, warehouse and truck owners,” said the CEO.
Tokunboh Ishmael, managing partner at Alitheia Capital, speaking on the investment, said, “We are excited to be at the forefront of optimizing logistics service delivery in key African markets, as trade and commerce is a key lever for driving development. Our investment further enables Haul247 to provide a seamless logistics solution for transporting and storing goods across the continent in a way that unlocks value and amplifies impact for individuals and companies throughout the value chain.”
Source: Tech Crunch