Ghanaian logistics startup Jetstream Africa has announced a US$3 million debt and equity seed funding round to support its mission to enable businesses on the continent to see and control their cross-border supply chains.
Founded in 2018, Jetstream is a cross-border logistics technology company that develops digital solutions for cargo owners and logistics providers at the continent’s ports and borders. It aggregates private sector logistics and brings them online — with the ultimate goal of accelerating growth in cross-border commerce.
“We are building digital infrastructure that will enable fragmented logistics providers to handle cross-border e-commerce and other time-sensitive physical goods trades quickly,” said Jetstream co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Miishe Addy.
“Jetstream aims to be to cross-border logistics what Flutterwave is to African fintech today – we’re driving towards an inflection point in the speed and growth of commerce on the continent.”
To fuel growth in this regard, the startup has now raised an oversubscribed US$3 million seed round led by Alitheia IDF and including Golden Palm Investments, 4DX Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Asia Pacfic Land, Breyer Labs and MSA Capital.
“What sets Jetstream apart is that they understand the need to solve more than a technology problem,” said AJ Okereke, partner at Golden Palm. “They are solving a fragmentation problem, by leveraging technology, partnerships and a physical presence in the field to bring logistics operators online. Their work has the potential to generate high-level insights that cargo owners and logistics providers need in order to meet their own customers’ expectations.”
Jetstream has seen strong traction, indicating that the newly-modernised ports of Ghana are a promising place to start.
“Ghana is a springboard for intra-continental trade, as well as trade between Africa and other fast-growing emerging markets. It is the seat of Africa’s newly enacted, continent-wide free trade zone, and is now home to West and Central Africa’s largest container terminal, which handles one million containers a year. At Africa’s more modern ports, shippers can move cargo in and out in days, rather than weeks. That speed is a magnet for regional trade,” said Jetstream co-founder and chief operating officer (COO) Solomon Torgbor.
Addy and Torgbor met at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) in Accra, where Addy was a teaching fellow. Torgbor had worked for Maersk freight forwarding subsidiary, Damco, for eight years, while Addy brought experience as a top-ranked analyst for management consulting company Bain & Company and a law degree from Stanford University.
Jetstream initially launched as a tech-enabled freight forwarding service with agricultural exports. Despite strong early growth – its logistics service revenue grew 512 per cent from March 2020 to March 2021 – the team identified key inefficiencies and a lack of coordination between providers around the ports as major bottlenecks to commerce overall, hence a pivot into aggregation, with the startup seeing a future where African trade running on Jetstream’s digital rails has a powerful competitive edge on logistics.