African logistics platform Lori closes nearly $30m led by Hillhouse, Crystal Stream

Lori Systems, an African logistics platform that connects cargo owners with truck fleets, has secured nearly $30 million in a Series A round of financing led by Hillhouse Capital Group and China’s Crystal Stream Capital.

Apoletto Asia, the investment vehicle of DST Global’s Russian billionaire founder Yuri Milner, seed stage-focused venture capital firm Timon Capital, investment firm Raba VC, innovative co-investment vehicle Endeavors Catalyst and others participated in the new round, according to a statement on Friday.

Lori Systems was launched in May 2017 in Kenya, where the transportation costs account for 75 per cent of product costs, compared to 16 per cent in the US.

Claimed to be the largest e-logistics service provider in East Africa, the company operates as an online platform that leverages on-the-ground operation team and technologies to connect cargo owners with truck fleets, helping them increase the utilization of trucking assets and realize on-time delivery to lower costs of goods in Africa.

The company now offers services in East African countries including Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It also has a presence in West Africa’s Ghana and Nigeria, where it officially forayed into in late September 2019.

Lori Systems will use the proceeds to further improve technologies, products and business operations, as well as finance the construction of its executive team.

“As one of the first Chinese venture capital funds to venture into the African market, Crystal Stream Capital has conducted field visits and investigations to conclude that it is the best time to make investments in the region, due to Africa’s rapid economic growth, demographic dividend and booming mobile internet,” said Wang Mengqiu, founding partner of Crystal Stream Capital, in the statement.

In August 2019, the Chinese investment company led a seed round worth millions of U.S. dollars in GONA, a Chinese startup that offers cashless bus services and payment solutions with a focus on the Nigerian market.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.