Egyptian FMCG logistics platform ILLA raises $500k in seed funding

Egyptian FMCG logistics platform ILLA has raised a US$500,000 seed funding round to help drive local and regional expansion. ILLA, which launched in March 2019, has already worked with major brands including PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, P&G and Savola. 

ILLA describes itself in the following way:

  • We manage the delivery process from planning to execution by digitizing each step of the delivery process by monitoring our clients’ logistics activities optimize it and converted to sales growth.
  • We provide a dynamic solution that helps our clients overcome the daily market challenges of delivering products to different types of retail and non-retail outlets.
  • We connect FMCG companies with a large network of trucks with different types and capacities to act as an internal fleet to provide a full control and visibility over the driver.

In reality, we think that description is more about where the platform is trying to go. Fundamentally, it is a service aimed at connecting FMCG brand owners with truck drivers.

Its seed funding has come from Averroes VC, AUC Angels, as well as a consortium of local and regional angel investors, and follow-on investment from the Flat6Labs Cairo accelerator.

ILLA joins Kenya’s Lori Systems, Sendy and Amitruck, and Nigeria’s Kobo360 in what is informally called “the Uber of trucks” ecosystem. Lori has so far raised $37.7m in investment and operates in Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria. Kobo360 has raised $37.3m and operates in Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda. It also claims to operate in Côte d’Ivoire and Egypt, but does not have offices there. Sendy has raised $27.5m. Amitruck raised an undisclosed seed funding round in April 2020 and operates in Kenya.

In this context, ILLA is a small player. But the Egyptian market is large, easily capable of supporting several competing players and regional specialists. The change of language, market dynamics and business culture for businesses expanding out of Nigeria or Kenya also hand an advantage to a homegrown Egyptian player. Its main threat is like to come from another Egyptian start up or an expansion out of another Middle East market like Saudi Arabia or the UAE.