Exclusive: Sendy, the Kenyan logistics startup in acquisition talks

Exclusive: Sendy, the Kenyan logistics startup in acquisition talks

Sendy is currently in advanced negotiations for an acquisition, with an official announcement expected soon. The startup has encountered significant challenges due to declining investor funding within the African startup ecosystem.

According to sources close to the matter, logistics startup Sendy is allegedly in the process of handing over its business to a new owner. The Kenyan company, which has been in operation for nearly a decade, has been battling sustainability challenges after several lay-offs and business decisions that forced it to abandon some of its products.

It is unclear which company will acquire Sendy, although TechCabal confirmed that the firm is engaged in a transaction that will essentially see its ownership change soon. In the same breath, details about the transaction cost have not been revealed. It is also unclear whether Sendy will further trim its employees or the new owners will keep the headcount intact. Sendy declined to comment at this time. 

Recent layoffs and funding

Following the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, several key technology companies and startups embarked on mass layoffs to trim their headcount after massive hirings during the lockdown. Workers were laid off due to economic downturn, financial strain and overall business uncertainty. Sendy was one of the companies that sent home workers.

In 2022, Sendy shifted its focus from a supply service for retailers to concentrating on end-to-end fulfillment, leading to its decision to cease operations in Nigeria. At that time, Sendy said it would aim to match online buyers with appropriate logistics providers. Its fulfillment service remained unaffected in other markets. This strategic change meant Sendy was moving away from its asset-heavy model in Nigeria, streamlining its approach based on market demands since its launch there in late 2021.

In late 2022, Sendy secured undisclosed financial support from MOL PLUS, the venture capital division of Japanese transport firm Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. This funding, seemingly acting as a rescue fund, aimed to stabilise Sendy while the logistics startup strategised its future moves. The funding discussions with MOL PLUS seem to have aligned with Sendy’s proactive efforts to reduce costs.

In 2018, Sendy concluded a Series A funding round, using the investment to enhance its range of services, grow its workforce, and prepare for the East African market. By 2020, the company had secured a $20 million Series B funding, with Atlantica Ventures taking the lead. This round also saw participation from Toyota Tsusho Corporation, the trade and investment division of Japanese automotive giant Toyota. Sendy is also one of the first beneficiaries of Safaricom Spark Fund, a $1m investment vehicle targeting growing startups.

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