So, how many of you already forgot about the recent Suez bottleneck? This month we dived into the world of MENA’s 60 supply chain & logistics startups to see how they’re improving supply chain around the region (and helping prevent bottlenecks 🤞). Including the world’s first electric last mile delivery platform and untapped areas.
60 supply chain & logistics startups in the MENA
Delivery & logistics was the 4th most active sector in 2020 in terms of the number of deals (25 deals in total), generating a 67% YoY growth. The total amount of funding was less than in 2019, but 2021 seems to be already making up for it as the sector received $37.6 million in March alone.
We selected 60 startups operating in supply chain & logistics in 11 countries of the region (i.e. Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE). Next—we classified them into 6 categories based on their function:
- delivery drop-off & storage – delivering to a pick-up point as an alternative to home delivery, e.g. smart lockers
- e-commerce fulfillment – helping e-commerce businesses with storage, processing orders, packing boxes and final delivery
- freight management – managing the transport of cargo of any size (we included trucking here)
- on-demand/express delivery (last mile delivery) – picking up and delivering items to the client’s doorstep
- on-demand storage/warehousing– storing furniture and other personal belongings
The outcome of our dive is that almost half of the reviewed startups is active in on-demand/express delivery, followed by freight management and e-commerce fulfillment. In terms of the number of active startups, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt top the chart.
Under delivery drop-off & storage we got Fodel (UAE) providing pick-up and drop-off for e-commerce parcels as an alternative to home delivery. In Egypt, Voo recently launched a pick-up point service for last-mile delivery.
In the delivery management category Emdad (Qatar) helps companies create and manage high-performing, resilient supply chains. Grid Supply Chain (UAE) is a SaaS platform for a better management of logistics and transportation flows by sea, air, road and rail.
We classified Shipa as a freight management startup (Shipa Freight) although Shipa has 2 more divisions: Shipa Ecommerce and Shipa Delivery. Other freight management startups include Lorryz (UAE), Trella (Egypt), Freterium (Morocco) and Homoola (Saudi Arabia). And, of course, our favorite TruKKer (UAE), a portfolio company that is operating in 5 different countries and just passed the threshold of 500,000 truck loadings.
The busiest category—on-demand/express delivery—comprises Armada (Kuwait), another portfolio company that just began operating in Bahrain, MRSOOL (Saudi Arabia), Bosta (Egypt), Hi-Express (Iraq)… and the world’s first electric last mile delivery platform: Solva (UAE).
On the other hand, on-demand storage/warehousing turned out to be the least busy category. Here we got Boxit (UAE), an on-demand personal storage startup originally from Kuwait.
Markets that we see having a significant room for growth are Lebanon, Jordan, Qatar and Bahrain.
Areas such as sourcing & procurement and warehouse automation remain largely untapped. Autonomous logistics, too—although Fetchr did partner with Eniverse Technologies and Skycart back in 2017 to develop the first autonomous drone delivery service in the region. Last year Dubai took the initial steps in drawing up the framework for commercial drones that would one day be used for last mile delivery and others. Perhaps a year or two from now, a drone will land by your house door to drop off your Amazon order… or drop you off.
TL;DR (too long; didn’t read)
We reviewed 60 supply chain & logistics startups operating in the MENA (majority in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt) and learned that on-demand/express delivery, freight management and e-commerce fulfillment are the most active sectors. Untapped areas include autonomous logistics as well as warehouse automation and sourcing & procurement.
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