On Thursday, July 5, 2021, Nigeria-based digital freight startup, MVX, announced a $1.3 million seed round to tackle the challenge of financing and booking freight operations in Africa. Investors in this round include Kepple Africa Ventures, Launch Africa Ventures, Founders Factory and some angel investors
This comes after the startup secured a $100,000 pre-seed investment from Oui Capital in 2019.
Per TechCrunch, MVX wants to ease trade finance and freight shipping in Africa by making the process available online.
According to Tonye Membere-Otaji, CEO, “We make it easy and convenient for businesses. We handle everything because we have all these service providers in one platform. So as shippers work with us, MVX works with like seven to ten other service providers.”
In 2015, Membere-Otaji, working at a maritime logistics company, came up with the idea for MVX when he found that there was no online marketplace for vessels. He launched the company with Tobi Amusan, CTO, in 2019 as MVXchange.
At that point, the company was only a support vehicle booking platform. It connected vessel requests with available Offshore Support Vessels (OSVs).
However, the company needed to change its model in 2020 after the oil demand dwindled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Membere-Otaji told TechCrunch that the demand for fossil fuels would reduce over the next few decades.
Now, the company helps businesses to move freight, provides finance and payment solutions for freight operators. This means merchants without adequate capital can request loans to help facilitate freight services. These services are now available on one platform — MVX.
In 2021, the company says it has recorded over 300 shipments and plans to reach 1500 before year-end.
Trade Africa still has a long way to go. According to The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD), Africa accounts for only 2.5% and 3% of exports and imports of world merchandise trade value, respectively. MVX hopes to empower trade on the continent offline and online.