JABU continues to make moves

Namibia's Jabu Logistics has raised N$234 million in investments over the past few months.
Brian Munango
The data-driven, e-commerce logistics company Jabu remains one of Africa’s fastest-growing start-ups. The Namibian logistics firm received an investment injection of N$234 million this year, spearheaded by international financier Tiger Global.

Moreover, new investors Box Group, Knollwood and D Global Ventures, amongst others, will see to it that the company, which has branched out to Zambia, continues to grow.

Founder and CEO, David Akinin, who attended this year's World Economic Forum, said the investment capital will be used to scale the company’s route-to-market penetration in the three countries where JABU is currently operating, namely Namibia, South Africa and Zambia. Plans are in place to expand into Botswana and Eswatini later this year. “We are solving the biggest opportunity in last-mile logistics and payments of this century,” said Akinin.

Small retail owners usually experience transport problems when ordering stock from wholesalers. With Jabu, it is possible to place an order through a mobile app, for a free, same day delivery by Jabu Drivers. Moreover, the online app offers a Jabu Wallet (Jwallet) to make payments in real time.

The road

“I remember when we were just getting started - we had to count and reconcile every shipment by hand. Our COO, Eugene Solohub, built powerful tools and we are able to process and understand our business like never before,’ Ester Johannes, cash operations manager, said.

In January, the company around 6 000 were signed up to the platform across Namibia, South Africa and Zambia. Akinin said since then, the number risen by 50% to 9 000 merchants today.

Going forward, Jabu intends to build around its Jwallet, which is currently launched as a standalone service. Jwallet allows merchants in Southern Africa to use their physical cash flows to offer cash withdrawals and deposit services for their customers. This is akin to agency banking, a branchless banking system in Nigeria and West Africa where human agents act as ATMs to offer financial services in remote areas.

“You can offer your end consumers the ability to withdraw and deposit money into their wallets and bank accounts through Jabu,” Akinin explained.

Edward Vaino, the business development manager said: “We are building a movement at Jabu that will mark the next generation of entrepreneurs in our communities. We deliver good luck.”