Africa is reported to have expensive and the slowest ports in the world particularly pertaining to trading of goods via Africa’s intracontinental trade corridors. Due to this challenge, African businesses prefer to trade goods with distant foreign partners as it is logistically cheaper and faster.
Jetstream, a Ghanaian technology-enabled logistics company has received a US$3 million debt and equity seed funding to provide service that changes this narrative. The company was founded in 2018 by Miishe Addy and Solomon Torgbor with the mission to enable businesses on the continent to see and control their cross-border supply chains.
The company’s co-founder and CEO Miishe Addy made these comments;
“We are building the digital infrastructure that will enable fragmented logistics providers to handle cross-border e-commerce and other time-sensitive physical goods trades quickly,”
“Jetstream aims to be to cross-border logistics, what Flutterwave is to African fintech today – we’re driving towards an inflexion point in the speed and growth of commerce on the continent,” she further said.
Both local and international investors participated in the $3 million seed round. Their investors include Alitheia IDF, Golden Palm Investments, 4DX Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Asia Pacific Land, Breyer Labs, and MSA Capital.
AJ Okereke of Golden Palm Investments indicated how Jetstream’s work has the potential to generate insight between cargo owners and logistic providers in meeting customer expectations.
“What sets Jetstream apart is that they understand the need to solve more than a technology problem. They are solving a fragmentation problem, by leveraging technology, partnerships, and a physical presence in the field to bring logistics operators online. Their work has the potential to generate high-level insights that cargo owners and logistics providers need in order to meet their own customers’ expectations.” said AJ Okereke.
Jetstream began when Solomon Torgbor had discussions with Miishe Addy on the problems he had noticed at Dmaco Logistics Ghana Limited. This was during a Pan-African incubator and entrepreneur training program in Accra known as Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST).
According to Torgbor, during his 8-year working experience at Damco, he witnessed cargo just lying idle for weeks at container terminals without moving forward in the supply chain.
The delays he said, were due to errors and incorrect paperwork at customs. Also importers, and exporters not having working capital at the right time to pay their logistics bills and poor coordination on the ground. With regards to exports, he noticed that cargo volumes were sometimes too small to ship cost-effectively by sea freight.
During this discussion with Miishe Addy who at the time taught business at MEST, they saw these challenges as something worth tackling.
“As he was talking, a light bulb went off and I thought. ‘These are exactly the types of problems that technology solves,’” Miishe Addy said in an interview.
“We discussed and tried lots of different solutions for about a year and discovered that cargo aggregation generated strong traction almost immediately,” she further said.
This development gave rise to the startup Jetstream which began operations in Ghana in March 2019. The company initially launched as a tech-enabled freight forwarding service with agricultural exports. However, as the company began to witness early growth, in November of 2019, Jetstream added trade finance for customers who face difficulty in filling out large purchase orders.
“We are different from a more siloed freight management system because we are leveraging financing to integrate 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,” Miishe Addy said in an interview.
It is worth mentioning that Jetstream also operates in Nigeria with agents present in South Africa, China, the U.S., the U.K., and Europe.