[Interview] Kagure Wamunyu, CEO, Kobo360, Kenya
Kobo360 was launched in 2017 by entrepreneurs Obi Ozor and Ife Oyedele II. Kagure Wamunyu is the current CEO, leading the company's expansion and growth in the African region.
Could you introduce your company?
Kobo360 is a Pan-African e-logistics platform. We make use of modern technology to aggregate trucks and supply them to SMEs and large enterprises across Africa. We connect cargo owners, truck owners, truck drivers and cargo recipients at scale, reducing frictions in supply chain by turning a disparate system devoid of order into a fully integrated one with deep visibility, efficiency and transparency.
Where is Kobo360 located and in what regions do you operate?
We have a presence across East and West Africa. Countries include Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Kenya and most recently, Uganda. We are planning to significantly broaden our reach in Africa; the goal is to enter 10 new countries by the end of 2020.
What are the company’s Unique Selling Points?
What makes Kobo360 unique is that we provide 100% visibility - businesses using the Kobo360 app can view the journey of their products from point A to Z. We are reliable and able to provide thousands of trucks to cargo owners. We also ensure that we support transporters by providing working capital by making a 50% down payment upon loading.
Furthermore, through our driver-empowerment programs KoPAY, KoboSAFE and KoboCARE, the company provides access to a range of services including discounted petrol, trip financing etc.
Who are your clients?
We have clients across Africa. As a business, we’ve served thousands of SMEs and over 80 large enterprises including Dangote Group, DHL, Unilever, Olam and Lafarge. In East Africa, our logistics partners includes Bidco Africa, Union Logistics Limited, Intraspeed, Bhakresa Group, and many other millers.
How is Kobo360 using technology to improve logistics efficiency in Africa?
Before Kobo360, Africa’s $150billion logistics sector was very informal. To move cargo, businesses were reliant on telephone, opaque pricing and expensive middlemen, making it challenging to move goods efficiently.
To combat this, we have developed an all-in-one logistics app which uses technology to create efficiency through data and visibility. We are able to match a business’ request with a selection of quality trucks of all categories, anytime with service delivery guaranteed.
Kobo360 is at the forefront of logistics. We have been able to fix many inherent inefficiencies that exist in road-based logistics, thus delivering huge values and positive experiences to our logistics partners, businesses and drivers.
You recently expanded your services into Kenya. Why this move?
Not just Kenya. In 2019 alone, we’ve expanded our operations to Togo, Ghana and most recently Kenya and Uganda. Each African country we’ve chosen to expand into has its unique value proposition.
Kenya is where East Africa’s busiest port, Mombasa, is located. The port of Mombasa serves as a gateway to other East African markets such as Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, and Southern Sudan as well as a direct connection to over 80 ports worldwide, handling more than 13 million tonnes every year.
Additionally, we want to take advantage of Kenya’s high technology adoption rate in order to support businesses and truck drivers in East Africa. Our move into Kenya brings us closer to building a Global Logistics Operating System (G-LOS) that will ensure fast movement of goods at a lower cost for businesses across Africa.
How has the Kenyan market responded to your services?
Oh it's been phenomenal so far. We’ve been operating in beta for five months and officially launched in August with access to over 3,000 trucks and truck owners. We’ve also built strong strategic relationships with Kenyan transporters such as Exxon Group, who have witnessed how we, as a company, utilize technology to power enterprise and the logistics sector.
What are the company plans going forward?
At Kobo360, we’re big on execution. We want to penetrate the African market - one country at a time. We’ve recently beta launched in Uganda and are looking to increase our footprint across Africa next year.
Aside from launching in Kenya, we recently secured $30m funding, led by Goldman Sachs. The funds will be used towards improving our technology offerings, scaling the organization, and adding 25,000 truck drivers in the coming months to power intra-African trade through the Africa Free Trade Continental Agreement [AfCFTA].