Freterium du Maroc seizes $4 million to scale its freight trucking software in the MENA region – TechCrunch

In Africa and the Middle East, most companies in the freight industry still use old-fashioned methods like spreadsheets, phone calls, and emails to manage their shipments. They are electronic but manual processes which make their work very inefficient.

While incumbents have pioneered various enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to digitize these processes, companies would still have four to five different software platforms to multitask.

Ideally, stakeholders in this industry – from manufacturers and distributors to retailers and logistics providers – need a single software that connects them to their entire shipping ecosystem, reducing time and costs.

Freterium, a Morocco-based startup, is one such company providing this software, and it has raised $4 million in seed across the country and surrounding regions.

San Francisco-based investor Partech led the round. CDG Invest, Y Combinator, Flexport, Swiss Founders Fund, Outlierz Ventures and a few angel investors from the US, Europe, Asia and Africa participated.

There are other companies that deal with various issues in the freight and logistics space of the MENA region, especially Egypt. Some are marketplaces or brokerage platforms connecting shippers to trucks, like Trella. Others like ShipBlu and Flextock play in the e-commerce fulfillment segment and cater to last mile and warehousing needs. But SaaS solutions to manage the flow of these shipments, collaborate internally with different departments within the company such as sales, customer service, finance and accounting, and aggregate data from many ERP systems are rare.

And that’s what Freterium, a YC-backed startup spear in 2020, tries to build: a holistic approach to solving the critical challenges of the freight industry.

” We are building a logistics operating system to enable shippers, our customers to manage all their national shipments on a single interface. We therefore connect organizations, people and technologies across the entire logistics value chain,” said CEO Mehdi Cherif Alami.

“And our core product is transportation management software for shippers that enables multi-company collaboration. But also, very important, it’s independent platform. We are therefore a neutral software that plays well with everyone. We are in a way the Switzerland of logistics, in this sense.”

Alami and CPO Omar El Kouhene previously worked in consulting and logistics for companies such as McKinsey, PwC, OCP Group and Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company) in Africa and the Middle East. According to Alami, the company’s transportation management software allows companies in the freight industry to manage shipments from port to factory, then products from factory to warehouses, B2B customers and ultimately end customers.

Here is an illustration of how the company’s software works: Suppose you order a TV from an electronics retailer with Freterium software integrated on its e-commerce site. The software informs the customer when he will receive the TV on behalf of Freterium. But behind the scenes, the software helps the retailer check many moving parts to ensure the delivery is carried optimally. Some of the parameters studied concern the availability of vans, the best route to reach the customer and the comparison of cheaper and more efficient options between using an internal or third-party courier service.

Beyond the planning part, the Freterium software helps with fulfillment and tracking by sharing shipping information with the parties involved in the transaction. And after the package has been deliveredretailers can monitor delivery provider invoices, analyze service performance and quality, and gain insight into inefficiencies within their organization.

In its first full year since launch, Freterium onboarded more than 20 enterprise customers, growing 35% month-over-month, according to CEO. More than 3,000 users also use its software.

While incumbents have high implementation costs and long setup times, which can span months, Freeterium says traders can install its platform in less than a week with no upfront costs. During installation, client companies pay “As little as a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars a month,” Alami said.

” We searched closely in the freight trucking market in Africa and the Middle East over the past five years, a market worth $250 billion. 85% volume is carried through legacy partnerships established between shippers and carriers and still operate with manual and inefficient tools,” said Cyril Collon, General Partner of Partech, about the investment.

“Freterium has built a holistic approach to solving key industry challenges and we are excited to support them in their mission to empower manufacturers, retailers and logistics teams across Africa.

This cycle makes Freterium one of the most funded startups in the emerging Moroccan ecosystem. Only B2B e-commerce startup Chari and proptech Mubawab have raised more recently.

Alami said the funds will be to be used invest in the company’s R&D, hire more talent to double its current team size in the next 12 months, commercialize its software and expand into Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates United.

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