Kenya’s Bwala Africa Group, a rapidly growing last mile logistics marketplace launched early 2018 to bring consistency and reliability to a historically unreliable and highly fragmented freight industry has raised undisclosed funding from well-known Silicon Valley angel investor Justin Caldbeck and expanded to Kampala, Uganda.
Investing in his personal capacity, Justin Caldbeck has made personal investments in Collective Health, Uber, SpaceX, Opendoor, Boom Technologies, Imperfect Produce, Anomalie, Goodeggs and others. Caldbeck will be joining Bwala Africa as a Board Member.
“I would like to officially welcome San Francisco based Investor and entrepreneur Justin Caldbeck to Bwala Africa as a Board Member. Justin was previously Co-Founder of Binary Capital and a former partner at Lightspeed Ventures,” said Kennedy Nyabwala, Bwala Africa’s founder and CEO.
“Bwala will be Justin’s first African investment. It is a great honor and opportunity to bring his vast experience and knowledge to our board and be part of our pan-African expansion journey. We do look forward to working with Justin, learning and growing the Bwala SaaS last mile technology across various African markets”, Nyabwala added.
This latest funding announcement follows Bwala Africa’s Ksh 24,000,000 debt financing from South African-based bank CFC Stanbic in September last year. The September funding saw the firm unveil 8 new trucks from ISUZU East Africa, four directly funded by CFC and the other 4 funded internally by Bwala Group to meet its growing demand for last-mile deliveries in Nairobi.
The firm also announced BwalaPay escrow payment service to collect payments for its customers. BwalaPay allows customers to pay on delivery and the seller on the other will either get cash when the item is sold or returned. Their offerings are seeing accelerating adoption from a wide range of brands including Jumia, Naivas, Copia among others.
Earlier this month, Bwala launched in Kampala, Uganda where it has made over 100 deliveries in its short span of existence in its second market in East Africa. The firm is also signing up more fleet partners and truck owners to its platform for last mile fleet connectivity in the country.
“Bwala Uganda officially kicked off operations on March 1st 2019,” said the founder. “We have landed major partnerships with some of the largest super stores in the country and are powering their last mile deliveries, so far, we have fulfilled over 100 deliveries and are eyeing more by the close of this quarter.
At Bwala, we understand merchant’s pain points in last mile logistics especially in Africa where there are no proper transport systems, poor navigation and traffic management, fluctuating fuel costs, complexity of the legal systems and a lack of capacity to do this in house. We are therefore offering merchants an efficient last mile logistics option so that they focus on their core business.”
In Kenya, Bwala Africa is working on Ksh 100 million state-of-the-art warehouse set for August 2019 launch in addition to its 3,000 square feet warehouse in Nairobi’s Industrial Area. The new warehouse will help the firm serve more clients in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu towns where it recently expanded as well as its new Kampala businesses. Bwala is in talks with VCs to raise $5 million for regional expansion.