The share of exports from Africa to the rest of the world was between 80 and 90% between 2000 and 2017. This has created a growing demand for Africa to be less dependent on raw material exports and to focus on regional trade. This not only reduces dependency on exports, but also creates new markets for value-added goods it will be exchanged.
However, Africa has the slowest and most expensive ports in the world. Reports say it does sometimes logistical For African companies, trade in goods with distant partners overseas is cheaper and faster than via the intra-continental trade corridors in Africa. That is a big problem and Jet stream, a Ghana based company proposing to change that just completed a $ 3 million seed round.
Local and international investors took part in the round. These include Alitheia IDF, Golden Palm Investments, 4DX Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Asia Pacific Land, Breyer Labs, and MSA Capital.
The startup was founded by Miishe Addy and Solomon Torgbor In 2018, the founders founded Jetstream to enable African companies to see and control their own cross-border supply chains. It aggregates private logistics providers at African ports and borders and brings them online.
Initially, the founders’ insight related to problems of fragmentation and lack of coordination in African ports; an experience Torgbor was all too familiar with. He had worked for the freight forwarding subsidiary Damco von Maersk for eight years. There he saw loads lying on container terminals for weeks without making any progress in the supply chain. The delays were due to errors and defective papers at customs, importers and exporters who did not have working capital at the right time to pay their logistics bills, and poor on-site coordination. For export, the freight quantities were sometimes too small to be sent inexpensive by sea freight.
Meanwhile, Addy taught Business at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), a pan-African business incubator and training program for entrepreneurs. Prior to MEST, the Stanford law graduate worked for management consultancy Bain & Company.
When Torgbor spoke to Addy about the challenges he had encountered at Damco, she immediately thought they were worth tackling. “When he spoke, a lightbulb went out and I thought. “These are exactly the kinds of problems technology solves,” “the CEO told TechCrunch. “We discussed and tried many different solutions for about a year and found that the load aggregation creates strong traction almost immediately.”
Jetstream started operations in Ghana in March 2019 with a Less Than Container Load (LCL) aggregation service. The service enabled agricultural exporters to group their shipments in common ocean freight containers. Then in November of that year, Jetstream added trade finance for customers struggling to fill large orders purchase assignments.
Today, Jetstream white-label systems built in-house to manage shipping and financing for customers.
“We differ from a more isolated freight management system because we use the funding to integrate customs brokers, freight forwarders, shipping companies, airlines and container terminals into the Jetstream platform for shipments to get managed and followed every step of the way. We’re bringing many of the local providers online for the first time, ”said Addy of the changes Jetstream had to make along the way.
Jetstream’s business model is straightforward. It calculates the offered freight, handling and financial services. For freight, it charges a fee per container or per kilogram. A flat fee is charged for customs clearance, which varies depending on the tax category and the location of the shipment. And for financing and insurance services, it charges a commission on the value of the goods be shipped.
Inefficiencies and lack of coordination between providers around the ports during the pandemic were made clearer and created stronger growth for Jetstream than its logistics services revenue significant grew by 512% from March 2020 to March 2021. Addy believes the pandemic has further intensified Jetstream’s vision of bringing cross-border trade corridors online and reaching a turning point in the speed and growth of trade on the continent.
“We see a future in which commerce that runs on Jetstream’s digital rails has a strong competitive advantage in logistics. Jetstream is to cross-border logistics what Flutterwave is to fintech in Africa, “She continued.
According to reports, the revenue of the cross-border logistics services market in Africa is about $ 32 billion. It is predicted will double in the next ten years. For Jetstream, Ghana is the perfect place to add so much value and expand in the face of the continent’s growth. As a native Ghanaian, COO Torgbor underlines this point. In a statement, he calls Ghana a stepping stone for intra-continental trade and intercontinental trade with other fast-growing emerging economies. The The West African nation currently sits at the head of Africa New enacted, continent-wide free trade area AfCFTA. Ghana is also home to Port Tema, the largest container terminal in West and Central Africa that plans to handle a million containers a year.
In addition Port Tema includes Jetstream, an unnamed, Asia-based global shipping company, as a major early adopter and customer of its technology. This has led Jetstream’s business to hit seven-digit sales and Addy claims the startup is growing more than 100% year over year.
According to reports, women-led startups in Africa draw less than 15% of total VC investment to the continent. However, in recent years many women-focused funds have been launched to fill this gap and one of them participated in this round. Alitheia IDF, a VC firm focused on gender startups, typically invests five- to seven-digit sums and is one of the few venture capital firms in Africa addressing low access to finance for women-led teams. Thus, Jetstream funding represents a rare win for this segment of the population (investors and founders alike), especially the latter based in Ghana, where there are few female technology CEOs.
Addy tells me she looks forward to more African women-led teams are well funded, wish Jetstream could help start the trend. “I especially hope our business growth will encourage the investor side of the tech ecosystem to take a second look all the female executives who are not Be appropriate financed, ”she commented.
Apart from that, Jetstream also has offices in Nigeria with agents in South Africa, China, the USA, the UK and Europe. This talent placement is one of Jetstream’s moves, aligned for 2028, when the CEO says the company hopes to have a presence at ports and borders in Africa, which accounts for 80% of the continent’s total world trade..