Senegalese logistics startup Yobante Express raises $1.2m seed round

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Senegalese delivery startup Yobante Express, an online marketplace that connects local couriers with local commerce to optimise domestic, cross-border and last mile delivery, has raised a US$1.2 million bridge funding round as it looks to build on its impressive growth.

Founded in November 2018, Yobante Express is a web and mobile platform that uses gig economy, independent and casual couriers within a resilient mesh network of relay points to deliver packages from point to point until the last mile, twice as fast and 40 per cent more affordably than existing solutions. 

Disrupt Africa reported last year the startup, which took part in the Startupbootcamp AfriTech accelerator programme in Cape Town in 2019, was now active in five African markets outside of its home country – namely South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Ghana.

Yobante Express has now raised a US$1.2 million bridge round, ahead of a Series A it will open at the end of the year. The funding comes from Grenfell Holdings, Launch Africa  Ventures, R-Ventures, Libertad via its investment branch Aguila Investments and a pool of local and high international angel investors. It will be used to help the startup reach critical mass in South Africa and Nigeria.

Co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Oumar Basse told Disrupt Africa the startup had an annual run rate of US$8 million in revenues and 1.2 million parcels carried. 

“We plan to carry 2 million parcels in 2021,” he said. “This bridge round is to fund rollout in South Africa and Nigeria, including building operations, developing the network of relay points and carriers, and acquiring customers.”

The Series A round Yobante Express plans to raise later this year will be used to scale into countries surrounding all its existing locations.  

“Within six months, we should be able to connect Lagos to Dakar using Yobante for the entire journey. Within three years, we should be able to send a parcel from Cape Town to Dakar,” Basse said.

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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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