Bwala Africa Group, a last mile logistics marketplace launched early this year to solve challenges facing fleet owners on a daily basis has recorded over 6000 + deliveries in Nairobi and secured debt financing from South African-based bank CFC Stanbic to meet the rising demand for last mile fleet connectivity. With the Ksh 24m debt financing, Bwala Africa is rolling out 8 new trucks from ISUZU East Africa, four directly funded by CFC and the other 4 funded internally by Bwala, bringing the cost of total invest to Ksh 23,000,000. The terms of the debt financing were not disclosed.
“We have landed 3 major partnerships with Kenya’s top retail stores to power their last mile deliveries. The partners include Copia, Naivas and Jumia which are by far the biggest retail and ecommerce brands in Kenya,” said Kennedy Nyabwala, Bwala Africa Group founder and CEO. “We are also doing collections, through BwalaPay, our escrow system. We have so far collected over Ksh 7 Million for our various last mile customers. BwalaPay allows customers to pay on delivery and the seller on the other end will either get cash when the item is sold / return of the package, if not sold. This has solved a big pain on online fraud.”BwalaPay service will be extended to classifieds and other online business entities who are dealing with skeptical customers who are not sure if they will lose money through online fraud “Bwala Africa is also working on crowd sourcing logistics service providers to fleet owners and connect them to auto garages and mechanics around the country. The firm is also working on its on-demand last mile retail logistics section for its B2B and B2C customers in e-commerce and distribution.
Though Bwala Africa is the first logistics platform and marketplace where logistics providers can meet mechanics, buy spares and insurance, the firm is also the first to offer an escrow payment service to its users building trust between the shipper and the receiver during the transaction. Bwala Africa is currently working on a 12,000 sqm warehouse to consolidate the orders for various retail needs to ease delivery and last mile order fulfilment. The firm also planning to expand into Uganda, Zambia, Ghana, Zimbabwe and South Africa as well as in Asia , Bangladesh, India and Philippines.
Launched in Nairobi nine months ago, Bwala Africa’s growth has not been without challenges. Nyabwala says signing-up of truckers has proven to be a difficult and an expensive affair needing a lot of patience. “We have managed to cover most parts of Nairobi and are expanding across counties in Kenya. We started with trucks but quickly realized that motorbike deliveries were on high demand due to to their speed and efficiency. We therefore integrated them,” added Nyabwala. Bwala Africa is also tightening its return trips to ensure trucks don’t come back empty. The firm is working closely with distributors, retailers and manufacturers across the country to ensure more returns to its truckers.