Topship, a digital freight forwarding startup, has raised $2.5 million from institutional and individual investors in a seed round. The funding will make it easier for African firms to export and import parcels and cargo to clients, suppliers, and distributors worldwide.
Flexport led the round, with Y Combinator, Soma Capital, Starling Ventures, Olive Tree Capital, Capital X, and True Capital joining as partners. Mercury CEO Immad Akhund and Dropbox co-founder Arash Ferdowsi are among the individual investors in the round.
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When co-founder and CEO Moses Enenwali recognized an increase in merchants’ needs for delivering parcels and goods beyond Nigeria during the pandemic in 2020, he launched Topship. He developed ties with these merchants following his experience with transportation company ACE Logistics and e-commerce fulfilment supplier Sendbox.
Moses Enenwali founded Topship as an Instagram business that allowed clients to transport parcels worldwide. However, in March of last year, it began to transform into a full-fledged import-export tech firm. It now offers a web app that allows businesses and individuals to schedule door-to-door deliveries. It has also expanded its shipping services from parcels to include cargo and freight shipping which is available worldwide.
Mr Moses Enenwali, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, said the company is also looking into additional revenue streams, such as trade financing and customs clearing fees.
“Our ambition to make shipping in Africa as simple and stress-free as booking an Uber ride has resulted in considerable growth and crucial first-hand insights that we would not have gained if we had stayed on the sidelines,” the company said in a statement.
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In the last quarter, the company said it supported 1,000+ merchants, mostly small and medium businesses (SMBs), and saw a 50 per cent increase in revenue month over month.
Topship, according to Enewali, allows 1,500 businesses to ship cargo and packages from Nigeria to more than 150 nations. Although it can assist Nigerian merchants in receiving parcel delivery in the opposite direction, it can only accept cargo deliveries from the United States, the United Kingdom, and China.
Topship caters to a diverse user base. Topship is a borderline local and international shipping solution between digital freight and e-commerce fulfilment, from a merchant moving tons of heavy equipment and a solo entrepreneur sending parcels to a student mailing documents to a school overseas and a Gen Z shopping from a foreign store. Trella, Flextock, ShipBlu, Sendbox, and Freeterium are among the African firms Flexport has funded.