Ghanaian logistics startup Truckr, incubated and funded by the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), has launched in beta ahead of a public rollout in May.
Formed after the founding team met while taking part in the MEST programme in Accra last year, Truckr subsequently raised US$100,000 in funding from the pan-African incubator and is now in the process of launching.
The startup, which launched in beta at the end of last month, uses web and mobile apps to offer a marketplace for the listing and booking of third-party trucks, with real-time visibility using Internet of Things (IoT) technology for tracking shipment.
It has built a database of secure and vetted trucks, which are monitored with pre-installed tracking devices during the onboarding phase. So far, it has actively engaged over 200 trucks and is associated with over 5000. Shippers simply sign up and fill out a form to book a truck.
“We have built-in seamless communication enablers for the shipper and transporter, while maintaining transparency and visibility of the cargo in transit on the admin dashboard, shippers dashboard and the truck owner dashboard,” Tshepo Morabane, Truckr co-founder and chief operating officer (COO), told Disrupt Africa.
“In case of any eventualities on the road, we have third party provision of goods-in-transit insurance which is an extra layer of security that seeks to give the shipper peace of mind.
Truckr was formed to address the high levels of fragmentation in the road freight logistics space in Ghana, which makes booking a truck time-consuming, costly and risky for the shipper, and creates a strain on truck drivers, who waits weeks at shipping hotspots to get business.
“We also noticed that a large percentage of the trucks on the road are running empty, consuming fuel and emitting carbon. This is due to the lack of comprehensive data on shipment at the destination,” Morabane said.
Truckr bridges this gap by providing a platform to match shippers with transporters, as well as using smart algorithms to match trucks to shipments at destination, decreasing empty miles. Morabane said the team was happy with adoption thus far.
“Given the environment we are in and how the adoption rate of technology in traditionally “orthodox” industries is generally low, especially in West Africa, it has been quite a pleasant surprise to see how enthusiastic our users have been to test and use the product,” he said.
“This could be as a result of recent eventualities. We see more shippers seeking more secure shipping methods having been victims of theft, diversions and lies from drivers. They want more control and access. This is what we pride ourselves for at Truckr. We give back control to the shipper.”
Truckr, which earns revenues from commission on bookings, subscriptions, and the sale of tracking devices, is currently operational across the whole of Ghana, and focused on building its credibility in that market.
“Our expansion plan in the short term is limited to specific markets in West Africa – Togo, Ivory-Coast, Burkina Faso and Nigeria,” Morabane said.