Ghana-based freight startup, Jetstream has announced the close of a $3million seed funding round to make freighting and port logistics easier for Africans.
Investors who took part in the round include Alitheia IDF, Golden Palm Investments, 4DX Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Asia Pacific Land, Breyer Labs, and MSA Capital.
Jetstream, a tech-enabled logistics company was founded in 2018 by Miishe Addy and Solomon Torgbor. The startup enables African businesses to have more control of their own cross-border supply chain by aggregating private sector logistics companies at various African ports and borders and makes them easily available to users through their online platform.
On how the insight for the company came about, Torgbor said his previous work experience with a Maersk freight forwarding subsidiary had exposed him to the inefficiencies associated with the freight process at African ports. He would later team up with Addy, a Harvard-trained lawyer who worked as a lecturer in the MEST Program, Ghana.
The partners launched Jetstream to act as a vertical broker between the fragmented and often-hidden segments of cross-border supply chains in Africa. It helps customers handle instant pricing, cargo tracking, and customs regulation transparency in a clear manner from its dashboard.
In a conversation with TechCrunch, Miishe Addy explained that Jetstream is working to bring many local freight providers in different African ports online for the first time.
“We are different from a more siloed freight management system because we are leveraging financing to integrate the customs brokers, freight forwarders, shipping lines, airlines, and container terminals all onto the Jetstream platform so that shipments can be managed and tracked every step of the way. We are bringing many of the local providers online for the first time.”
Through Jetstream’s mobile app, users can get quotes for their cargoes. The startup calculates the charges for each consignment on a per-container or per-kilogram basis when offering freight services.
While for customs clearance, it charges a flat fee based on tax category and location of the shipment. The only commission-based fee is for financing and insurance services and this is charged based on the value of the goods being shipped.
According to reports, intra-African trade makes up a small amount of world trade. Only about 7% and 5% of world trade are being loaded and unloaded respectively in Africa, making up a very small volume of intra-continental trade. While this is the case for African trade, trade between Africa and the rest of the world has ballooned to over $800 billion. Jetstream’s vision is to make it easier for companies to conduct regional trade across the African continent.
Bringing cross-border trade corridors online will speed up the growth of commerce on the continent and ultimately lead to the growth of the African economy. Jetstream aims to be a major force in bringing Africa to this point of growth.
“We see a future where trade running on Jetstream’s digital rails has a powerful competitive edge on logistics. Jetstream is to cross-border logistics what Flutterwave is to fintech in Africa,” Miishe Addy said.
The startup hopes to have a presence at ports and borders in Africa. It already has agents in Nigeria, South Africa, Europe, the United States, and the United Kingdom.