Lori Systems, an African e-logistics company, has announced that it has received funding from search engine giant, Google.
The funding is part of Google’s $50 million Africa Investment Fund, which was launched by CEO, Sundar Pichai, in October, 2021. The fund, which was announced by Google CEO at the first-ever Google for Africa event, is targeted at helping early-to-growth-stage African startups scale. This is done through investments, and by granting the companies access to Google’s employees, network and technologies.
The new investment made by Google makes it the third of such investment from the $50m Africa Investment Fund. Other companies that have benefited from this fund include Ugandan company, SafeBoda, and South African games publisher, Carry1st. The fund is part of Google’s commitment to investing $1 billion in Africa within 5 years.
Lori Systems is an Africa-based on-demand haulage and trucking company. It provide shippers with digital solutions to manage transportation of cargo. The company was recently voted by the Financial Times as the seventh fastest growing company.
Lori was founded in 2017 by Josh Sandler, Jean-Claude Homawoo, and Ernest Gichini Ngaruiy. It began operation in the East African country of Kenya, before expanding to Nigeria and South Africa.
Speaking on the investment, Lori Systems CEO, Uche Ogboi, who was recently appointed, showed excitement at the partnership, and expresses optimism about the future of the partnership.
“We’re excited to have Google as a partner as we continue to build the operating system for emerging market logistics. Our vision of the future of logistics in Africa is one that is digital, scalable and more efficient. We have been successful, achieving up to 20% price reduction for cargo owners and nearly 2x increase in truck utilisation for transporters on our platform. We are excited about this funding as it will allow us to continue driving superior efficiencies across logistics on the continent,” Ogboi said.
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Google’s Managing Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, Nitin Gajria, also commented on Google’s investment in Lori Systems:
“At Google, we understand the transformative power digitisation can bring to the African continent. There is so much potential in the region, but it’s only through innovation that this can be fully unlocked. Lori Systems is a great example of how technology can be scalable across Africa and how, in turn, this can drive meaningful economic development. We’re excited to see where the future takes a business like this.”
According to a report by Knight Frank’s Logistics Africa report, 75% of the price of products in Africa is attributed to logistics, against 6% in the United States. Lori Systems sees this as an opportunity to limit the cost accrued on logistics by logistics firms, by providing connecting shippers with transportation, and digitalizing the whole process. As a result of its ingenuity, Lori Systems claims it has helped thousands of shippers move cargo worth $10 billion since it began operations in 2017.
“In recent years the global logistics industry has seen much innovation. However global supply chains are in dire need of modernization, with technologies yet to reach critical scale. […] On the continent, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is expected to lead to an 81% increase in intra-African trade, providing a $21.9 Billion opportunity in untapped trade potential that the 54 ratifying countries are hoping to capitalize on over the next 5 years. Logistics is key to unlocking this opportunity,” Jean-Claude Homawoo, Lori Systems Co-founder, said.