Kenyan transportation platform Senga launched

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Kenyan startup Senga has launched in public beta, providing an on-demand platform connecting shippers and transporters of goods.

Bootstrapped startup Senga specialises in moving truckloads across cities and, in the future, across countries.

Shippers and transporters are able to register on Senga, which matches items needing transporting with drivers covering those routes. The startup facilitates the transportation, and handles payment.

The idea for Senga came about when co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) June Odongo was living in the United States (US) and had to relocate several times over the course of a few years.

“I was frustrated most of the time with my experiences, and started to ask questions about what was causing the acquisition of moving services to be so difficult,” she told Disrupt Africa.

“I learned, for example, that you could move cross-country from Boston to California for US$6,000 if you dealt directly with the driver owners, but that corporations offering the same service and same trucks would charge US$12,000.”

The lack of efficiency in the system was also a cause of frustration.

“Moving companies also often cannot predict when they’ll deliver your goods to you if they are traveling across long distances because they often have to consolidate. Lastly, trucks often move empty in backhauls. It turns out that these are global problems in the logistics arena,” Odongo said.

After moving to Nairobi in January, she started to explore ideas in the logistics industry.

“At the time, we thought moving parcels more efficiently might be interesting. But then we decided to look at the entire logistics sector and picked about four key problems, ranging from the underutilisation of space in trucks and subsequent high costs to shippers and consumers, to issues such as fraud,” Odongo said.

“We spent time on validation, getting feedback on the ideas and eliminating down to what we found to be the most salient issues – efficiency and fraud.”

In around March of this year, Senga decided that focusing on bringing visibility to the supply and demand sides to improve efficiency would have the biggest impact for its constituents, with development beginning in May.

Senga is currently operating in Kenya, but Odongo said she sees the startup growing to become a pan African company.

We are doing everything in stages. As an example, we have started with trips initiating from Nairobi to other parts of Kenya. Next, we’ll begin to take requests from other parts of the country,” she said.

“We can service trips from Nairobi to Uganda now, for instance, but we don’t want to rush unnecessarily. We want to stay focused and to become excellent in our offerings, step by step. We know that Rome was not built in a day. We will expand to the EAC and SADC in the future, and to other parts as well.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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