OnePort 365 Team (Image: OnePort 365)
OnePort 365, a digital freight forwarding company that makes it easier to move cargo to, from and within Africa, has raised $5 million in seed funding to drive the end-to-end digitisation of freight management in Africa and support its expansion into new markets across the continent. The seed funding round was led by Mobility 54 (the Venture Capital arm of Toyota Tsusho and CFAO Group), with participation from SBI Investment, Flexport, ODX, a Singaporean syndicate fund and other strategic angel investors. Samurai Incubate also re-invested after participating in the previous round.
With active operations in Nigeria and Ghana, and ongoing explorations in other markets, OnePort 365 is building an operating system for cross-border trade in Africa, helping traders to manage their freight processes through a digital platform that enables seamless freight forwarding and other value-added services. With this new funding, OnePort 365 is positioned to further improve efficiency and lower overheads in cross-border trading across the continent, as well as deliver a wide range of new services that will increase profitability across the board.
Africa contributes an increasingly significant amount to global maritime trade, with a reported 12 percent of the 811 million containers handled at ports worldwide. Africa’s clearing and forwarding market is also growing, with latest figures suggesting a market size of $4.2 billion and a projected 12.5 percent growth with new services emerging. However, a wide range of challenges including congestion at ports, difficulty with accessing effective service providers and complex payment systems have resulted in increased costs, inefficiencies and many missed opportunities for traders.
With OnePort 365, traders no longer have to wait up to two weeks to compare the best rates from different service providers. With pre-negotiated rates, they can explore competitive offers on the platform and book freights in 30 seconds or less. Traders can also connect with shipping and inland transportation vendors and manage the entire process (from booking to payment) on one single platform. Traders get GPS-enabled, real-time visibility of their shipments and they can view all documents relating to the shipment via the platform, eliminating the laborious process of physically retrieving these documents from offices or shipping line centres. The platform also leverages advancements in payment technology and the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) to power instant payments.
The platform covers air freight, ocean freight, inland haulage (trucking, barge, and rail), as well as Pay-As-You-Go warehousing, marine insurance, customs brokerage and more. Since OnePort 365 started operations in 2019, it has increased the number of twenty-foot equivalent unit containers (TEUs) by 140 percent and grown its revenue by more than 420 percent.
Commenting on the new funding Hio Sola-Usidame, CEO and founder of OnePort 365 said “we are super excited to have these investors onboard to support our mission to optimize cross-border trading across the continent. With new regulations like the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement creating the potential for a new era of trade on the continent, we want to make it easier for traders to maximise the opportunity. We believe managing freights should be as easy as booking a flight or ordering a ride-hailing service and we are building the operating system to make this possible.”
Takeshi Watanabe, CEO of Mobility 54 Investment SAS said “we are delighted to support Hio and the OnePort 365 team as they embark on the journey of digitizing the end-to-end freight management process in Africa. There is great potential to unlock significant commercial opportunities across the continent by addressing the longstanding challenges that have made it difficult to move freights into and around the continent, and we are confident that OnePort 365 has what it takes to succeed.”
Rena Yoneyama, Managing Partner at Samurai Incubate Africa said, “since the first day we joined the company as an investor in 2020, we’ve believed that this team is the one that could build a cross-border trading platform tailored for the African continent. We’re very happy to back OnePort 365 again”.
mediaReach OMD Nigeria Appoints Stephen Onaivi as New Managing Director
mediaReach OMD Nigeria Board of Directors has confirmed the appointment of Stephen Onaivi effective January 1st, 2024. Onaivi will become the managing director of the nation’s foremost media investment and management agency, known for its thought leadership and innovativeness. The Regional Chief Executive Officer of Omnicom Media Group West & Central Africa (OMG WeCA), Alaba Fadero, announced Onaivi’s appointment in Lagos.
According to Fadero, “Stephen’s appointment is the result of a careful succession planning and talent development program. He is expected to maintain OMD’s industry leadership and drive our regional growth strategy across the three critical global pillars of Client, People, and Capability.”
Onaivi is a homegrown, globally evolved professional who has been responsible for driving innovation across major brands, including Diageo, Airtel, Olam, Vodafone, Virgin Atlantic, Google, Uber, and GSK, to mention a few across the West and Central African region.
In addition to being the Managing Director of OMD Nigeria, he has a mandate to drive the OMD brand across West and Central Africa to enhance client value and ensure the seamless integration of OMD values, technology, and strategic processes.
Before his new appointment, Onaivi was the Managing Director of OMD Ghana, where he contributed to developing a multi-disciplinary, forward-looking media and advertising industry and serviced an array of national, multinational, and regional clients.
Reacting to his new appointment, Onaivi expressed confidence that the industry leadership and innovative strides of OMD Nigeria would be maintained under his leadership, stating, “We are proud of our thought leadership and pragmatic approach to providing value-driven services to our clients, and they should expect more with our team’s renewed commitment.”
According to Onaivi, key focus areas of OMD Nigeria will include innovation driven by technology and marketing science, the development of local talents, and enhanced strategic thinking to improve the agency’s value proposition to its clients.
Onaivi is a communication expert who has attended several management training courses and conferences from renowned business schools across the globe, including the Lagos Business School and London Business School. He is a keen golfer and a firm believer in the importance of community service. He is also the founder of the “Play with Stephen” golf tournament held annually in Accra, Ghana. The tournament leverages golf as a ‘passion point’ for key decision-makers to create awareness and support for Autism across Africa.
Endeavor Nigeria appoints Bolaji Balogun as its new Chairman
Endeavor Nigeria Chairman, Bolaji Balogun (Photo: Eleanor Goodey).
Endeavor Nigeria’s board of directors has appointed Bolaji Balogun, Chief Executive Officer at Chapel Hill Denham, as its new Chairman. Bolaji was previously Endeavor Nigeria’s Vice Chairman and succeeds Atedo Peterside, Endeavor Nigeria’s founding board chairman.
“I am honored to be asked to lead Endeavor Nigeria’s Board at this time, building on the strong platform provided by Endeavor Nigeria’s founding Chairman, driving our commitment to providing high-impact entrepreneurs with the access to capital, networks and mentorship that are so important to building a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem. I believe private capital and entrepreneurship are mission critical to delivering sustainable development.”
Outgoing Chairman Atedo Peterside stated, “It has been a pleasure serving as the Chairman of Endeavor Nigeria in its first five years in Nigeria, during which we have seen the organization help to accelerate high-impact entrepreneurship in Nigeria. Once Endeavor, always Endeavor and I look forward to offering my support to Endeavor Nigeria under the capable leadership of Bolaji and all his colleagues on the Board.”
We are also pleased to announce that Endeavor Entrepreneurs Olugbenga ‘GB’ Agboola (Founder and CEO, Flutterwave) and Christian Wessels (President and co-founder, Daystar Power) have been appointed to the Endeavor Nigeria Board, becoming the first Endeavor Nigeria Entrepreneurs to join the local office’s board.
GB, founder and CEO of Flutterwave Inc., a FinTech company facilitating cross-border payment transactions of small to large African businesses via one API, was selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur in April 2019. Christian Wessels, President & co-founder of Daystar Power, a leading provider of hybrid solar power solutions for commercial and industrial businesses in Africa, was selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur in February 2020.
“As an Endeavor Entrepreneur, I have experienced firsthand the invaluable impact that this organization can have on scaling a company,” said Wessels. “I look forward to supporting both Endeavor Nigeria and its entrepreneurs.”
“Joining the Endeavor Nigeria Board of Directors is a full-circle moment for me. Endeavor has been instrumental in Flutterwave’s trajectory, and I’m excited to pay it forward by supporting the next generation of Endeavor Entrepreneurs. I look forward to helping drive transformative change in our local tech ecosystem“, said Agboola.
“We are thrilled to have GB and Christian join us as the first Endeavor Entrepreneurs on the board and offer their unique perspective representing Endeavor Entrepreneurs and paying it forward,” said Endeavor Nigeria Board Chairman Bolaji Balogun.
Endeavor is a non-profit organization that supports high-impact entrepreneurs worldwide to transform economies locally and globally. Having launched its operation in September 2019, Endeavor Nigeria possesses an active local board of business leaders who believe high-impact entrepreneurship can transform Nigeria. A complete list of board members may be found here.
Endeavor Nigeria’s objective is to accelerate the growth of high-impact entrepreneurs through access to mentorship, talent, capital and markets. Endeavor Nigeria currently supports 16 companies and 35 entrepreneurs from diverse industries that will impact the Nigerian economy through job creation and economic opportunities as they scale.
Goodwell Investments leads USD 8.5 million Series B round for Good Nature Agro
Impact investor Goodwell Investments has joined forces with social impact investing cooperative Oikocredit and Global Partnerships/Eleos Social Venture Fund (GP SVF) to provide USD 8.5 million in equity to Zambian social enterprise Good Nature Agro (GNA).
Good Nature Agro currently supports about 30,000 southern African smallholder farmers in growing drought-resistant, early-maturing legume seed varieties, including beans, cowpeas, soyabeans and groundnuts. Its agritech-based business model encompasses access to inputs, input finance, smart and reduced fertiliser use, climate-smart training, and a guaranteed market for high-value produce, giving farmers a wealth of support to professionalise their businesses and establish a clear path out of poverty.
In line with Goodwell’s mission to support innovative African companies that are contributing to a more inclusive society, the organisation first invested in Good Nature Agro in 2020 via its uMunthu I fund. In the years since, GNA has continued to expand its ambitions and reach, consistently growing farmers’ productivity and incomes, as well as improving their access to finance. In addition, the company has recently opened a new factory in Lukasa.
To enable GNA’s next phase of growth, Goodwell Investments led the company’s series B round, partnering with Oikocredit and GP SVF to raise a total of USD 8.5 million. With this new investor capital, GNA aims to grow its client base to 50,000 farmers by 2027. It will also deepen its engagement with its clients, improve its integration of whole farm income, develop new genetics to deliver greater yields and resilience, and innovate to keep its clients at the centre of agricultural supply chains.
Neo Maruatona Ratau, the Investment Director at Goodwell Investments, eagerly anticipates GNA’s future accomplishments, stating, “The remarkable growth GNA has experienced since our initial investment has been impressive. We have observed the company’s ability to deliver robust financial returns and make a significant social impact, all thanks to its farmer-centric business model, which effectively integrates smallholder farmers into the agricultural value chain. We are delighted to collaborate with investors Oikocredit and Global Partnerships to support GNA’s upcoming growth phase, which will be fueled by the convergence of digital and financial inclusion, along with strategic inorganic growth initiatives.”
Samuel Kibiri, Oikocredit’s Equity Officer for Africa, is equally enthusiastic about GNA’s potential for creating impact, saying, “Our new partnership with Good Nature Agro will enable Oikocredit to help more low-income African farmers improve their livelihoods through improved yields and access to markets. We’re delighted to be co-investing with like-minded investors in an innovative business with a clear mission to move farmers out of poverty.”
Finally, Jim Villanueva, Managing Director of GP SVF at Global Partnerships, is confident in GNA’s ability to continue to deliver remarkable results, saying, “We first invested in GNA during their seed round in 2018 and have witnessed the enterprise’s ability to adapt and scale its offering to enable farmers to increase and diversify their incomes, in the face of both climate change and gender inequality. We are proud of the results achieved to date and the opportunity to support GNA in this next chapter of growth and impact.”
Reflecting on the new investment, Carl Jensen, CEO of Good Nature Agro comments, “Good Nature has broken the boundaries of most agribusinesses by engaging the full value chain – connecting growers, aggregators, processors and consumers – and delivering exceptional service through a hybrid tech and ‘boots on the ground’ model. We very much welcome Oikocredit as a new investor, endorsing our approach and potential, and are equally grateful for the partnership and trust of our existing investors Goodwell and GP SVF who participated in this round.”