Jetstream: Story, Founders, Investors & Funding Rounds
The startup was founded by Miishe Addy and Solomon Torgbor in 2018. The founders started Jetstream to enable African businesses to see and control their cross-border supply chains. It aggregates private sector logistics providers at African ports and borders and brings them online.
Jetstream Africa is also an e-logistics company founded in Tema, Ghana, and operating across 14 African countries. Its core product, pre-financed logistics, enables businesses to rapidly book and monitor door-to-door logistics, financing, insurance, and other trade support services online.
Initially, the founders’ insight was around fragmentation problems and lack of coordination at African ports; an experience Torgbor was all too familiar with. He had worked at Maersk’s freight forwarding subsidiary Damco for eight years.
There, he saw cargoes sitting for weeks at container terminals without moving forward in the supply chain.
The delays were due to errors and incorrect paperwork at customs, importers, and exporters not having working capital at the right time to pay their logistics bills, and poor coordination on the ground. For exports, the cargo volumes were sometimes too small to ship cost-effectively by sea freight.
Meanwhile, Addy taught business at Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), a Pan-African incubator and entrepreneur training program. Before MEST, the law graduate from Stanford worked for the management consulting company Bain & Company.
As Torgbor spoke with Addy about the challenges he noticed at Damco, she immediately thought they were worth tackling.
Jetstream started operations in Ghana in March 2019 with a Less Than Container Load (LCL) aggregation service. The service allowed agricultural exporters to group their shipments into shared sea freight containers. Then in November 2020, Jetstream added trade finance for customers who found it difficult to fill large purchase orders.
Today, Jetstream is white-labeling the systems built internally to manage shipments and financing for customers.
During the pandemic, inefficiencies and a lack of coordination between providers around the ports were made more evident and created stronger growth for Jetstream as its logistics service revenue significantly grew 512% from March 2020 to March 2021.
That aside, Jetstream also has operations in Nigeria with agents present in South Africa, China, the U.S., the U.K., and Europe. This talent placement is one of Jetstream’s moves geared towards 2028 when the company hopes to have a presence at ports and borders in Africa comprising 80% of the continent’s total global trade.
How it Works
Jetstream’s business model is straightforward. It charges for the freight, clearance, and financial services offered. For freight, it charges a per-container or per-kilogram fee.
For customs clearance, it charges a flat fee that varies depending on the tax category and location of the shipment. And for financing and insurance services, it charges a commission on the value of the goods being shipped.
Jetstream’s platform offers an avenue for exporters and importers to apply for trade finance, book shipments, and insure their goods in a fraction of the time it would take them to coordinate those transactions individually with fragmented vendors.
The company aims to enable its customers to make better decisions by aggregating the fragmented financing and logistics vendors that support trade across the continent’s 54 countries.
The company’s business model is based on providing standalone logistics services such as air, ocean, and ground transportation, customs clearance, pickup, delivery, and handling for a fee.
The company also provides financing for its customers by paying all the customers’ vendors as a loan to the customer, which will be repaid by the customer 90 days after the shipment.
The credit option is available to exporters as purchase order financing, which means that Jetstream will cover the cost of buying inputs and fulfilling purchase orders, and logistics vendors are paid by Jetstream as a loan to the exporter.
For importers, an invoice financing option is available where Jetstream will cover the cost of importing goods, including freight, customs duties, and delivery charges paid by Jetstream as a loan to the importer.
The company also offers short-term loans, with a maximum term of 90 days, which are repriced based on the reference and FX rates at maturity.
Miishe Addy is the Co-founder and CEO of Jetstream Africa.
She previously worked at MEST Africa as a Startup Mentor, Business Fellow.
Miishe started her career as a top-ranked strategy analyst for Bain & Company in New York, practiced transactional law at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, and has consulted global development organizations, including TechnoServe and Global Partnerships.
As a winner of the London Business School Accel Award for African startups, Addy has been recognized by the Project Management Institute as one of the top 50 next-generation project managers globally, and by Forbes Woman Africa as a New Wealth Creator.
Miishe earned an honors BA in Philosophy from Harvard College and a JD from Stanford Law School. She lives in Tema, Ghana.
Solomon Torgbor is the Co-founder and COO of Jetstream Africa
He previously worked at A.P. Moller – Maersk as a Manifest Operations.
Solomon Torgbor attended Kwame Nkrumah’s University of Science and Technology, Kumasi.
Investors & Funding Rounds
Jetstream Africa has raised $13 million in equity and debt-funded pre-Series A. The equity round saw participation from French development institution PROPARCO through the Digital Africa Bridge Fund; ASC VC, a venture fund founded by executives of the supply chain visibility platform Project44; Nigerian venture capital fund Octerra; Senegal’s Wuri Ventures; Seed9, a syndicate founded by Google alumni; the MBA Fund; the W Fund; and family offices.
Existing investors like Alitheia, IDF, and Golden Palm doubled down on their investment in the equity round. Fintech lender Cauris was the sole investor in the debt round. The investors were selected based on their investment or operational experience in the logistics sector.
The funds from the pre-Series A round will be used to support Jetstream’s expansion into new countries and the continued development of its technology platform.
Additionally, the company is looking toward francophone Africa to mitigate the effects of Ghana’s turbulent inflation because the CFA was pegged to the Euro.
Jetstream has also partnered with several other key players, such as multinational banks like Societe Generale, pan-African e-insurance broker LAMI, and cross-border payments operator MFS Africa, to establish itself and has grown its active pre-financed logistics customers by 102% in the last year and has seen revenue grow by 48%.
She also added that the company has achieved product-market fit and a doubling of gross margins with the addition of the trade finance and logistics bundle, even after accounting for depreciation.
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