Sendy targets West Africa with stake in Ivory Coast firm



Sendy Ltd, a Kenyan digital logistics firm, has acquired a minority stake in an Ivory Coast-based company as part of a strategy to grow business deals at West Africa’s largest seaport.

The tech-logistics start-up has partnered with Mobility 54 Investment SAS — a corporate venture capital unit of Japan’s Toyota Tsusho and its affiliate CFAO Group — to buy a “significant stake” in Kamtar International for undisclosed amount.

Kamtar, started in February 2018, links truckers to small businesses and larger corporates in West Africa.

Sendy, which opened shop in 2015, will use the investment to grow business deals at the Port of Abidjan— Africa’s second most important port, after South Africa’s Port of Durban, which also serves landlocked countries such as Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Chad and Niger.

The Kenyan logistics upstart says it will leverage on its “technology, expertise and broader range of services to bolster Kamtar's capabilities” in Cote d'Ivoire and Senegal, with sights on spreading wings to other French-speaking West African countries by end of 2022.

“Today, we hold a minority stake. In future, we are 100 percent sure we will be looking at increasing our holding in that company,” Sendy founder and chief executive officer Mesh Alloys said on phone.

“The goal is to see what synergies are possible in future and for us to help them grow and also understand that market.”

Sendy, which says it has about 10,000 delivery drivers on its platform, raised $19.9 million (Sh2.2 billion) January last year for expansion beyond East African Community bloc into Western, Southern and Northern Africa.

“This strategic investment will help us achieve Sendy’s long-term goal of expanding our West African presence and supporting our current customers looking to expand or enter the West African market,” Mr Alloys said in a statement.

“We share a joint vision with Kamtar to make it easier to trade across Africa and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to collaborate with Kamtar on product development and technology solutions for customers across the region.”

Some of corporates which uses the Sendy app for e-commerce and delivery services include Safaricom, Jumia, Maersk, Unilever and DHL.