South African eCommerce startup, TUNL, secures $1 million pre-seed funding to grow its export platform

December 13, 2023
2 min read
TUNL's team

The News

  • TUNL, a South African eCommerce startup, has announced its $1 million pre-seed funding to accelerate the growth of its parcel shipping platform. 
  • Investors include Founders Factory Africa, Digital Africa Ventures, E4E Africa, and Jozi Angels.
  • The company says the funding will significantly accelerate its expansion within its primary market, South Africa, and help break into other key African and emerging markets.

Co-founded by Matthew Davey (CEO) and Craig Lowman (COO) in 2022, the platform seeks to solve the challenge of gross inefficiency and high shipping costs for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in emerging markets, starting in South Africa. 

Davey first encountered this problem as the managing director of a Dutch company that imported South African engineering materials to several European companies.

Before the emergence of TUNL, South African SME merchants sometimes saw their shipping costs exceed the value of their products. It did not matter if the products were high-end items, like textiles or camera accessories. The limited shipping options exacerbated the situation. 


TUNL, attempting to solve this problem, formed partnerships with major courier services like DHL, FedEx, and UPS, which has enabled it to negotiate affordable shipping rates and, in turn, subsidise the shipping costs for South African SMEs by up to 75%. During checkout, the platform also provides South African merchants with multiple shipping options, effectively increasing flexibility.  

The startup says its platforms help eCommerce merchants cut down shipping costs significantly, saving them up to 80% on international shipping costs.

Per the company, it currently serves more than 700 merchants and has processed and shipped over 8,000 international parcels in 2023 alone, making up $1 million (R19.5 million) worth of exports from South Africa.

TUNL, whose monthly revenue averages $60,000, plans to do more with this new seed funding in South Africa and replicate its success across Africa and other emerging markets. 

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