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ILLA: Egypt’s FMCG-focused logistics startup raises $500k seed funding to further expand its operations

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ILLA, a FMCG delivery logistics marketplace has successfully raised a $500,000.00 seed fund with participation from Averroes VC, AUC Angels and a consortium of local and regional strategic angel investors with follow-on funding from Flat6Labs Cairo.

ILLA launched officially in March 2019, through Flat6Labs Cairo accelerator, where they got great business support enabling them to truly take off, after running their operations in beta mode for 8 months, getting robust feedback from their pilot clients who remained on their portfolio ever since and continue to grow alongside other household name clients.

ILLA caters to the big corporates and SMEs alike, with full-fledged transportation and logistics solutions tackling major pain points unique to the FMCG industry. While innovating around logistics is challenging, it’s even more so within an ever-growing industry, and that’s why ILLA is uniquely poised to capture considerable market share both locally and regionally for their exclusive focus and innovation around this industry. The Outcome of such focus is that they operate within 24 Governorates across Egypt, delivering 7 million cases so far and spanning more that 3 million Kilometers.

The new investment round will enable ILLA to further capitalize on its position as a leader in FMCG Delivery Logistics industry in Egypt, where delivery logistics is being constantly disrupted with new technology and market dynamics. ILLA is striving to maintain its leadership positioning as the delivery logistics arm to FMCG companies as well as SMEs while enriching the customer journey and deepening relationships within the value chain. Tech transformation is a key area of focus for ILLA, which enables its clients to manage their existing and outsourced fleets seamlessly and provide them with elaborate analytics and market insights, to make better decisions and deliver superior quality to their customers. The funding will also drive further local expansion and exploration of regional markets to operate in next.

Mahmoud El- Zomor CEO & Co-founder, comes from a family deeply rooted in the distribution industry, whereas he held several positions in multinational FMCG corporates like CocaCola and Clorox, he then sought to innovate around traditional logistics with technology disruption and began the journey of ILLA with his three childhood friends who span a diverse range of experiences across the FMCG Industry as well. With Alaa Jarkas, Commercial Director & Co-Founder who used to work as an Account sales manager at juhayna as well as past experiences in overseas in saudi arabia as an operation officer in oil and gas service company, and Ahmed Sakr, COO & Co-Founder, used to work as an account manager at Coca-Cola Egypt, and as a financial advisor in the foreign exchange market before that and lastly the one in charge of the tech innovation that’s at the very core of ILLA, Hossam Saraya CTO & Co-Founder, a software engineer with over a decade of experience, who has been leading multinational software teams to deliver scalable, usable, highly available and data driven software products.

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Here’s what the investors had to say about the team and the company.

“We at Averroes are always on the quest of backing up exceptional startups and we have established this earlier in the logistics technology domain. We believe in ILLA’s vision in providing high quality customized distribution solutions and in the value of its offering in serving FMCGs in an innovative and effective manner. ILLA’s exceptional team of diversified backgrounds are surely capable and well equipped in becoming a key player in the future of the logistics technology industry.” Dr. Ahmed Alsharif, Founding Partner and CEO, Averroes Ventures.

“The ailing logistics and delivery sector is at a turning point, with Illa well-positioned due to their solid team, unique market know-how, and the strength of their solution. We are really pleased to support their growth and be a part of this round.” – Mariam Kamel, AUC Angels.

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“ILLA joined FLat6Labs Cairo Spring 2019 Accelerator Program. As early stage investors, Flat6Labs primarily invests in people, ILLA’s founding team demonstrated from day one that they are an A team. Their dedication, extensive experience in the logistics & Multinational FMCG industries and more importantly their insightful vision were assuring signs of great success ahead.FLat6Labs is reinforcing its belief in ILLA and the team by joining a second round of investment in the company, in order for ILLA to continue to grow their business operations, to serve new markets/segments and introduce new technologically-enabled solutions.

Flat6Labs Cairo is confident in ILLA’s future plans and their ability to fulfil them. We wish the team continued success, says Marie-Therese Fam, Managing Partner of Flat6Labs Cairo.”

ILLA may only be beginning the journey but in such short period of time they managed to gain the trust and support of major local companies and multinational household names, the likes of CocaCola, P&G, Nestle and Pepsico while also empowering big local ones alike, and the road ahead continues to be ever so promising for the company.

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João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, The President of the Republic of Angola To Speak At The Angola and Turkey Business Forum

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João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, The President of the Republic of Angola (Image: Claudia Padayachy)

The President of the Republic of Angola, João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, will give the inaugural speech at the Angola-Turkey Business Forum, to be held at the Ato Congresium Conference Center in Ankara, Turkey, today, 28 July 2021, at 9:00 am local time.

President Lourenço, who will address the Turkish business community, will take this opportunity to highlight Angola’s economic potential and the opportunities that the country offers. He will also discuss his government’s commitment to economic growth and development through the private sector as well as the multiple initiatives that have been adopted to improve the business environment.

This Forum is part of the official program of President Lourenço’s visit to the Republic of Turkey and is the perfect opportunity to inform the local business community and investors of Angola’s new business environment. Numerous ongoing reforms and support policies for private investment and the diversification of the economy have been put in place.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors of AIPEX, António Henriques da Silva, will present the numerous investment opportunities in the Republic of Angola.

Turkey’s Minister of Commerce, Mr. Ahmet, and the President of DEIK, are also expected to present at the Forum. 

Around a hundred Angolan and Turkish companies from various sectors are expected to participate in the event.

The Angolan and Turkish business communities will soon enjoy closer ties, with the launch of two direct weekly air connections between Luanda and Ankara through Turkish Airlines.

The  Angolan presidential delegation comprises Manuel Nunes Júnior – Minister of State for Economic Coordination, Edeltrudes da Costa – Minister and Cabinet Director of PR, Tete António – Minister of Foreign Affairs, João Ernesto dos Santos – Minister of National Defense and Homeland Veterans, Sérgio dos Santos – Minister of Economy and Planning, Ricardo Viegas de Abreu – Minister of Transport, João Baptista Jorges – Minister of Energy and Water, Manuel Tavares de Almeida – Minister of Public Works and Spatial Planning, Diamantino de Azevedo – Minister of Mineral Resources , Oil and Gas, António Francisco de Assís – Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Victor Fernandes – Minister of Industry and Commerce and Antonio Henriques da Silva – Chairman of the Board of Directors at AIPEX.

Over the last 18 years, Turkey has significantly increased its presence in Africa, going from 12 embassies and investments of around USD 100 million in 2003 to 42 embassies and around USD 6.5 billion in direct investments in 2021.

From 2003 to 2019, Turkey’s trade with Africa increased about five times, and now some 51 African cities are served by Turkish Airlines, which plans to start flights to Angola soon. (Source: issafrica.org and AIPEX).

To date, Angola has registered around USD 200 million in investments of Turkish origin, especially in mining and steel. President João Lourenço’s visit to Turkey will boost economic relations between the two countries and, in the medium term, an increase in Turkish investment in Angola is expected in priority sectors, namely, industry, mining, energy, tourism and transport, in addition to trade, where the two countries already have strong links.

The trade balance between the two countries is unfavourable for Angola, data from the General Tax Administration (AGT) indicate that from 2015 to 2020, Angola’s imports from Turkey was around USD 1,702,737,951.00, while exports from Angola to Turkey in the same period were only 41,960,419.00 USD.

 

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Wärtsilä to modernise power generation at Nigeria’s oldest and largest food company, Flour Mills Nigeria

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Wärtsilä will enable leading Nigerian food company to modernise its power generation facilities to meet everyday production needs

The technology group Wärtsilä will supply fuel-flexible dual-fuel engines to extend, improve, and modernise power generation for a captive power plant at Nigeria’s oldest and largest food and agro allied company, Flour Mills Nigeria. The company’s Lagos-based power plant is needed to ensure sufficient capacity and a reliable electricity supply around the clock to meet its food production requirements, and commitments to its customers. The two received orders were booked by Wärtsilä in March and June. 

The first order comprises a 9-cylinder Wärtsilä 34DF dual-fuel engine generator set and is an extension to the existing generating capacity provided by a similar Wärtsilä engine generator set that has been successfully operating since 2017. The second order comprises a 12-cylinder Wärtsilä 34DF engine generator set and is intended to replace an existing inefficient mono-fuel generating asset in the plant with efficient dual-fuel generating capacity as part of Flour Mills Nigeria’s captive power plant modernisation plans. The Wärtsilä engine generator sets will be delivered during 2021 and are expected to become fully operational in early 2022. 

The multi-fuel capability of the Wärtsilä engines, which can switch seamlessly from natural gas to liquid fuel mode while running at full load, facilitates continuous supply of electricity to critical loads in the event of uncertainties in the quality and quantity of the gas supply. In addition to maximising the availability and reliability, this inherent capability provides a valuable hedge against fuel price increases, and lends itself to accommodating future fuel infrastructure developments. 

Also Read Wärtsilä Optimised Maintenance agreement supports growth ambitions of a privately-owned Nigerian supplier of energy to the national grid

“It is always gratifying to receive repeat orders from a customer, not only because it signifies their satisfaction with our solution, but also because it cements the relationship between our companies. Operational flexibility and efficiency, which are features of the Wärtsilä engines, are becoming key issues in energy production, and are especially relevant for production facilities with a critical need for a reliable electricity supply,” commented Marc Thiriet, Energy Business Director, Africa West. 

The Nigerian government’s 30-30-30 vision document for the power sector aims to achieve a capacity of 30,000 megawatts of electricity by the year 2030, with at least 30 percent being supplied from renewable energy sources. The selection of fast-starting and stopping Wärtsilä engines means that should the customer have access to solar or wind power in the future, these engine generator sets can provide smart back-up generation to balance the fluctuating supply from renewables.

Wärtsilä has a leading position in supplying flexible power generation to West Africa with 4792 MW of capacity installed, of which 667 MW in Nigeria. Wärtsilä has operated in the country since 2010 and has about 90 employees locally.

 

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Journey Wellness, an AI-Enabled, Personalised Healthcare Platform Launches in South Africa

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Journey Wellness Co-Founders, Dr. Jacques Ludik and Lara Wayburne (Image: Nomsa Mdhluli)

Journey Wellness, an AI-Enabled, Personalised Healthcare Platform set to Revolutionize Wellness & Healthcare in South Africa. The Platform will transform business employee benefits and medical schemes’ approach to offering wellness for employees and medical aid members.

A revolutionary new approach to offering Ultra-Personalised, Artificial Intelligence-Enabled Healthcare from tech-trendsetting company Cortex Logic is set to transform the way medical aid schemes, consumers and corporates offering employee benefits as part of their EAP (Employee Assistance Programmes) view their current healthcare offering.

The Journey Wellness platform is perfectly timed to coincide with the current global shift in Healthcare, as the focus moves from a disease-management model to one that encourages optimum health and disease-avoidance, targeting younger as well as existing members with a holistic, pro-active offering.

Corporates and medical schemes are realising that they need to offer their employees and members wellness and EAP benefits that move beyond expensive, reactive, chemical care to cost-effective, proactive preventative primary care.

“Globally, an ever-increasing portion of healthcare spend and focus is shifting to promote wellness and wellbeing, rather than responding to illness,” says Lara Wayburne, a respected Healthcare Actuary consulting to Cortex Logic and part of the development team of the Journey Wellness Platform.

“Healthcare analysts predict that over the coming decade the focus on wellness and wellbeing can reduce overall healthcare costs by as much as 30%.”

“Journey Wellness enables that future by empowering and engaging consumers to better understand the drivers that impact their health and therefore be more actively involved in managing their own health. By doing so, the Journey Wellness ecosystem encourages positive health seeking behaviour, promoting better physical and mental health,” says Wayburne.

The driving force behind Journey Wellness, Dr Jacques Ludik, Founder and CEO of Cortex Logic, who has also recently written a book called ‘Democratizing Artificial Intelligence to Benefit Everyone’, says that the Journey Wellness platform will provide more healthcare, to more people, faster.

“Essentially, Journey is a cost-effective, pro-active, personalised and engaged AI health companion that will improve health outcomes for everyone involved – the medical scheme provider, employers, employees, healthcare providers and ultimately the end-user consumer who will benefit from personalised, proactive healthcare with the added benefits of cost savings all-round,” says Dr Ludik.

Journey Wellness offers a number of benefits for Medical Schemes, Corporates and End-Users:

Employer Groups and Medical Scheme providers will benefit from the cost savings inherent in moving from expensive, reactive, chemical care to cost-effective, proactive preventative primary care for their members and employees. This will result in increased productivity, increased employee engagement, reduced absenteeism and cost-savings to all involved.

Healthcare Providers will benefit from having a 360-degree view of their patients that will improve wellness proactively without costly chemical intervention, usually at the reactive stage and will also empower patients with continuous self-care.

And, Consumers will benefit from a Holistic Wellness Solution and the reduced need for expensive healthcare options, improved wellbeing, rewards for engagement and ultimately having a personalised wellness coach on hand at all times to help them understand their health status and associated risks and better manage their health and improve quality of life.

“Overall, it’s a win-win scenario in which technology, data and analytics foster a collaborative and progressive healthcare environment, creating an ecosystem for improved wellbeing one step at a time that benefits everyone,” says Wayburne.

Journey Wellness has also made an exciting announcement around making the Platform’s Mental Health Module available for free to users from 1 September 2021.

“We realise that the current state of affairs globally, and in South Africa in particular, with pandemic lockdowns and economic uncertainty foremost on our minds, places an enormous amount of pressure on people. So, we’re offering free access to our Mental Health Module to users, where they can access an AI-enabled mental health companion 24/7,” says Dr Ludik.

The Journey Wellness Demo Platform for Corporate Employers and Medical Schemes is available at www.journeywellness.co.za, and for Consumers, the User App is available as a free download for Android and iOS devices at Google Play and App Store. Medical schemes and Employers looking to offer Journey Wellness to their members can interact directly with Journey Wellness by requesting a demo via the website.

 

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