Amitruck, a Kenyan logistics startup has announced an undisclosed pre-seed funding from Dynamo Ventures based in the USA, and seeing participation also from Plug and Play Ventures, among other angel investors.
Amitruck which was launched in 2019, is a trucking logistics marketplace bringing transparency, efficiency and trust by linking truckers with shippers using its web and mobile application, side stepping both middlemen and brokers in the process.
The startup reportedly had an amazing 12 months where it saw revenues jump to over 300% in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. After it completed the Google for Startups Accelerator Africa in 2020, Amitruck has done well to attract investments from both Dynamo Ventures and Plug and Play Ventures, along other angel investors from its advisory board with experience in supply chain and logistics.
In a press statement, Mark Mwangi, the founder and CEO of Amitruck said,
“I look forward to working with Dynamo Ventures and Plug and Play Ventures who alongside their investment bring a huge amount of experience building and scaling companies and access within the logistics sector.”
In response to this, Barry Large of Dynamo Ventures says,
“We are excited to be investing in Amitruck given the momentum it has achieved over the last 12 months particularly in light of the challenges associated with COVID-19.”
The former board director at Sennder aaded that, his outfit has spotted a number of similarities between Amitruck and Sennder which they invested in at a very similar stage of their lifecycle. Concluding that Dynamo Ventures believes Amitruck has that possibility in becoming equally successful.
A bit about Dynamo Ventures
Dynamo Ventures is a sector-focused investor, targeting the outside US supply chain and mobility startups. It is largely noted for its early investment in Sennder, Europe’s largest digital freight brokerage that recently acquired Uber Freight’s European operations and raised $160 million with a valuation in excess of $1 billion. The venture capital firm was founded in 2016, after the fund’s founders successfully exited Access America Transportation to UPS following its merger with Coyote Logistics.
“We are extremely excited to invest in Amitruck. We have been in contact with Mark for the last 10 months and we are not only impressed by his incredible growth, but also by his story and ambitions,” said Alberto Anton, Analyst for Plug and Play Ventures.
He shares that Amitruck brings to the table efficiency and transparency to the supply chain and they they at Plug and Play Ventures are convinced that Mark and his team will be able to lead the logistics market in Kenya and East Africa as a whole.
About Plug and Play Ventures
Plug and Play Ventures is a seed and early-stage venture capital firm that invests in emerging growth companies. This is the venture arm of Plug and Play, an innovation platform, bringing together startups and the world’s largest corporations.
OKO: Insurtech Startup Raises US$1.2M to bring Innovative Insurance to Smallholder Farmers Across Africa
Insurtech start-up, OKO, that provides inclusive agricultural insurance to secure farmers’ income across Africa, has closed a seed investment of $1.2 million. The round was led by Newfund and ResiliAnce. Mercy Corps Venture, Techstars, ImpactAssets and RaSa also participated in the round.
The startup which currently operates in Mali and Uganda uses satellite data and mobile payments to create automated insurance products for farmers whose fields are affected adversely by weather events — primarily droughts and floods. With the new funding, OKO aims to strengthen its presence in Mali and Uganda and expand its offerings to more African markets, starting with Ivory Coast.
According to the founder of OKO, Simon Schwall, in a press statement said,
Simon also said they were using technology to solve this issue and secure the income of those farmers.
The company already has approximately 7,000 paying customers in Mali and compensated more than 1,000 farmers last year, who were affected by floods. OKO’s customers typically grow maize, cotton, sesame or millet. It also works with agro-industries to help them with their sustainability goals and secure their relationships with suppliers. Successful pilots were completed with ABInBev and Touton in Uganda.
This convinced Augustin Sayer, partner at Newfund, to support OKO:
“We believe recent advancement in iOT and data availability will lead to the rise of parametric insurance in Africa for the benefit of the local populations. Simon and his team have built solid bases in Mali from which OKO can now expand in new countries and offer new insurance products.”
OKO takes pride in being the most inclusive crop insurance available. All farmers need to connect to OKO is a phone (no smartphone required): they can dial a short code to obtain more information and pay through mobile money services. To achieve this level of accessibility, the company partners with mobile operators.
OKO, for Aisha Touré, the CEO of Orange Money in Mali, has taken full benefit of the Orange Money platform to provide a service that is both innovative and inclusive.
Daniel Block from Mercy Corps Ventures added,
“While other micro-insurance for farmers exist, we were impressed by OKO’s ability to partner with a pan-African operator like Orange and establish a direct consumer link, which allows for an exciting opportunity to drive deeper user engagement and expand to a suite of insurance products for rural farmers in the future.”
The service offered by OKO is supported by regulators and has won both the Fintech Showcase Award by the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, representing financial regulators of emerging countries, and the SME award from ITU, the telecommunication governing body.
When asked about the next challenges for OKO, Simon Schwall’s answer is clear:
“We need to find more partners who can bring our product to farmers, be it NGOs, agro-industrial players, mobile operators or governmental programmes. We proved that our solution is working and answers a strong need. Now we need to scale”
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