Senegalese logistics and delivery company, PAPS, is filling this gap in its region by offering various logistics services to customers.
The company recently announced that it has secured pre-series A round worth $4.5 million to expand its tech-enabled logistics solution in the Francophone region.
Pan-African venture capital firm 4DX Ventures co-led the funding round alongside regional telecom operator, Orange.
Other participants include existing investors, Uma Ventures and Saviu Ventures and new investor LoftyInc Capital, Yamaha Motor, Proparco, To.org, Google Venures, Kepple Ventures and Enza Capital.
Founded in 2016 by Bamba Lo, PAPS provides end-to-end logistics solutions for businesses with both online and offline operations.
It initially operated a consumer-to-consumer logistics model before it immediately pivoted after observing how disorganized and infrequent most requests were which made it difficult to precisely predict the delivery flows in the space. Now, it operates a B2B model where deliveries are properly planned.
The platform assists small to large scale businesses with their logistics needs, from storage, international transport to delivery.
Merchants who use PAPS have access to visibility features which helps them monitor the status of deliveries from takeoff point to the point of destination. Deliveries can also be scheduled on the platform.
Lo, the chief executive officer explained that when PAPS was launched, the first thing they wanted to give to clients was visibility on their transactions.
They wanted merchants to know when the driver picks up their goods, where the goods are during transit, and when it arrives.
The company owns the warehouses where clients’ goods and parcels are stored. It also owns vans, motorcycles, cars and trucks used to carry out inter-and intra-city logistics.
Additionally, the logistics company has delivery points that act as a relay network between the takeoff point and delivery point where clients can pick up their orders.
The chief executive officer said that PAPS wants to design an infrastructure and an enabler for businesses to access clients they may not be able to reach today because of logistics.
He said, “We are filling a gap that big companies didn’t want us to address, which is the domestic market. No one has been able to address the domestic market except PAPS and that’s the reason we want to give not just quality, but also reliability.”
The company says that the pre-Series A round will be geared toward strengthening its tech team, and also improving physical infrastructure to onboard more warehouses, fleet, hub and extend its offering to more African companies.
The growth of e-commerce in Africa largely depends on the efficiency and quality of logistics networks; from intra to cross-trade then to transactions in payment of goods and services.
The e-commerce sector in Africa has seen the birth of several startups especially in the area of logistics, but do not deliver as promised due to the presence of various challenges.
One of the biggest hurdles in the logistics department of the e-commerce sector is the lack of proper road networks.
This makes it difficult for companies to conveniently deliver products to customers. The only way to overcome this challenge is by channeling various means of delivery and that is what PAPS is offering, making them reliable.
They have several delivery vehicles that help them navigate the hassle of poor road networks and we believe the funding would go a long way to advance their already working and established system.