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Leta, a Kenyan supply chain and logistics SaaS provider, raises $3M to scale in Africa

Leta, a Kenyan B2B supply chain and logistics SaaS provider launched last year to optimize fleet management, is looking for growth opportunities in West Africa, even as it scales operations in its existing five markets.

Leta’s proprietary route and load optimization technology is designed to boost efficiency in the delivery of goods to customers and reduces the number of vehicles needed for distribution, leading to cost savings and increased competitiveness.

In its expansion phase, backed by a $3 million pre-seed funding, the startup looks to tap some of the biggest distributors and e-commerce players in Ghana, and later Nigeria, to grow beyond Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The 4Di Capital, Chandaria Capital, Chui Ventures, PANI, Samurai Incubate and Verdant Frontiers Fintech participated in the round. Cellulant co-founder Ken Njoroge and Google executive Charles Murito made investments too.

“Our next year is going to be fairly big for us. Our product has stabilized and we have a very good understanding of our sales process and our go-to-market strategy. The capital we have raised will help us to quickly scale into new markets beginning with Ghana, where we will launch in December,” Leta founder and CEO, Nick Joshi told TechCrunch, adding that its working on a transport marketplace and fintech products too.

A SaaS provider for businesses, logistics providers and marketplaces

Joshi founded Leta after a two-year stint as the VP of product at in the U.S., where he worked with various providers to help the marketplace gain last-mile efficiency in over 35 states. He said the job made him realize how delivery problems are dynamic and will continue to be a challenge everywhere.

This experience inspired him to relocate back home to launch Leta as a transformative support service for businesses, logistics providers and marketplaces like Sendy and Amitruck.

“We are an operating system for logistics, and our software is able to show distributors the most efficient route to serve the customers quicker, and enables them to use less assets (vehicles) to serve more customers,” said Joshi.

“It also makes it possible to track the driver, the specific goods carried, the loading of the truck to know if space use is maximized, the time spent during the journey and distance traveled,” he added.

Businesses are also able to measure other vehicle metrics like speed, braking and idle time, among other data points that define efficiency in operations.

Haulers use the driver app, which shows them all the different stops they need to make, in sequence, and sign-off form for proof of delivery. Customers, on their part, receive a web link to track the delivery of their orders.

Since launch, Leta says it has optimized over 500,000 deliveries, delivered more than 20,000 tons of goods and managed 2,000 vehicles.

Among the over 20 major businesses the startup is currently working with are pan-African fast-food giant Simbisa Brands, fast-moving consumer goods conglomerate Chandaria Industries, whose family office invested in its latest round, B2B e-commerce distribution platform Twiga, and ShopZetu, a fashion marketplace.

“As a leading FMCG player in the region, we are continuously focused on optimizing our business to best service the growing demand. Leta has played a pivotal role in helping us streamline our last mile distribution, and we’re seeing meaningful savings on our logistics costs in addition to an improved service delivery time. After working closely with the Leta team, we were impressed with the team, the technology they are building, and the scale of the problem they are solving, which prompted our investment from Chandaria Capital.” said Darshan Chandaria, CEO of Chandaria Capital.

Joshi said Leta has a first mover advantage in the region and will continue to build and refine its technology IP and products to serve the massive gaps he sees in the market.

The transport marketplace that the company seeks to launch will enable its clients to request additional delivery vehicles when their fleets are not sufficient.

“Through our software, there will be a way that they can then request more vehicles, and we will be able to quickly connect them to additional providers."

“Our platform also tracks things like utilization and we can match them (distributors) with the best of the available suppliers. Why this is interesting is, instead of doing similar to what other marketplaces do today, which is renting a truck to a customer for one service. A truck could do multiple loads because we have the load-utilization ability.”

The startup is also in talks with financial providers to offer asset financing to help clients expand their fleets.

“We want to do it in a very structured way and our technology is a great foundational layer to enable us to build other products.”