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Cairo-based fulfillment and last-mile delivery startup ShipBlu has successfully raised $2.4M in its latest funding round, shortly after graduating from Y-combinator’s summer batch. The Seed round was led by venture capital firm Nama Ventures, with participation from 1984 Ventures; Orange Ventures, Starling Ventures, and other VC funds and angel investors.
Founded in late 2020, ShipBlu is a fully integrated platform built to deliver a unique e-commerce shipping experience. Powered by its own AI and machine learning technology, ShipBlu dispatches fleets to deliver timely shipments, allowing customers to choose their preferred timings while ensuring a consistent delivery success rate, while providng a consolidated platform to track shipping progress across the value chain. This value chain in itself is also consolidated in ShipBlu’s fulfillment business mode, leasing fulfillment centers across egypt to provide storage, packaging, and dispatching services for clients of all sizes.
It’s been a remarkable quarter and year for Egypt’s digital marketplace and delivery spaces as recorded in our Q3 2021 EVM E-commerce Venture Investment Report. Egypt-based startups closed every fourth deal in E-commerce, and a stellar 30% of all Transport & Logistics deals across MENA by Q3 2021, driving an 855% and 258% YoY growth in industry funding respectively. A common factor between the many innovators in Transport & Logistics (T&L), raising major rounds this year was an asset-light approach where the likes of Trella, Bosta, Flextock, and ShipBlu have adopted hybrid asset-sharing or leasing models to keep flexible liability margins.
As online payments boomed globally and in Egypt and upon finding out via research that the market size for last-mile delivery in MENA stands at over $3.1 billion annually, Nasser and his co-founders ElKawass, Abdelrahman Hosny got together to start ShipBlu. Ali Nasser, Co-founder & CEO elaborated “It was that period that it hit us and we realized how much more can be done for delivery services in the standard of service and the features that are available today. Compared to Europe and the US and other parts of the world, there was just so much more that we could bring to the market.”
As delivery & logistics startups in Egypt adopt innovation to streamline the digital ordering process, many critical obstacles still lie ahead. Despite the large population in Egypt as compared to KSA, the Egypt-based E-commerce market still falls behind due to incompatible internet and road infrastructure, the unavailability of basic facilitators like Zip codes (a common feat in many neighboring geographies in MENA), and the lack of transparency or assurance on delivery dates by shippers and movers. “Roughly 56% of the time when someone in Egypt places an order online, they don’t even have a delivery date. After you place your order and you get an email confirmation, it’s complete silence until, on a random day, you’re going to get a call from the agent who’s on your on their way to you asking if you are available to pick up the package. We’re changing that,” Nasser added.
ShipBlu only fully launched this August. Per its YC profile, ShipBlu signed on more than 40 merchants during its first month. And since then, the company has managed to double its clientele while tripling revenues in the same period, said Nasser without stating hard numbers. Within the next couple of months, Nasser confirmed to Techcrunch his intentions of expanding ShipBlu’s network and infrastructure to reach 99% of Egypt’s population. The Egypt-based team will channel its fund into further development of its platform and expansion into further Egyptian markets as CEO Ali Nasser concluded “Whether you’re living in a small village or a large town or a large city, we want to be able to get to you and have the infrastructure in place to get to your delivery to you.”
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