Source: Tom Jackson/Disrupt Africa

Nigerian startup SEND is a digital freight forwarder and customs broker with a vision of boosting Africa’s trade logistics and enabling intra-African and intercontinental trade. 

Founded in 2019, SEND provides software that helps businesses manage their entire supply chain, including customs clearance and trade financing. 

“We do this to make it easier to ship cargo to and from Africa by providing a single window for customers to orchestrate their supply chain. Our digital-led platform empowers our customers with features to enhance visibility and control of their supply chain from – instant quotes and bookings, through document management, and cost transparency, to supply chain financing and carrier payments,” said Maureen Okojie, co-founder and head of commercial at SEND.

The startup offers multiple modes of cargo movement, including air freight, ocean freight and inland transportation, with real-time tracking and visibility across all channels.

Okojie previously worked in logistics for over 12 years at MAERSK, realising in the process there was an opportunity for an African business that could bring together the many moving parts of a very fragmented and siloed industry. She connected with Larry Oti, now SEND’s CEO, to create one.

“The functionality and efficiency of any country or region’s logistics system is an essential factor that can largely determine the impact of trade on economic growth. Unfortunately, Africa’s logistics is still at a late development stage,” Okojie said. 

“World Bank findings indicated that although Africa had experienced its fastest growth over the past decade, contributions to global trade were low at three per cent. Also, given the eminence of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to boost intra-African trade, there is no better time to start building a solution for Africa to enable this trade. Infrastructure deficit and low technological integration to the logistics side of the supply chain continue to serve as barriers.”

SEND is not the first logistics company to reference the “AfCFTA opportunity”, but the company believes its technology gives it an edge over competitors.

“We leveraged technology to develop a solution that will simplify Africa’s logistics and minimise the complications that may arise from regulatory requirements and documentation, warehousing and trucking,” she said. 

“This way, we can support large corporations and small businesses to meet operational objectives and help African governments grow intra-Africa trade and improve contributions to economic growth. Perhaps, this will begin to attract a more positive perception of the African logistics industry in the eyes of the global market.”

SEND has raised pre-seed and seed rounds of funding, and since launching its product in 2020 has completed over 3,000 ocean containers. 

“We have also partnered with various customers, shipping companies and terminals and have grown our customer base by 220 per cent year-on-year. Our customer base is set to grow by 1,000 per cent over the next two years especially given our expansion plans across West and East Africa over the next 18 months,” said Okojie.

The startup is currently present in Nigeria, Ghana and Togo, and is in the final stages of an acquisition transaction that will see it expand into additional markets across West Africa.

Source: Tom Jackson/Disrupt Africa