Investments

Cairo-based trucking marketplace Trella raises over $600,000 in pre-seed to connect shippers with carriers

Cairo-based trucking marketplace Trella has raised over $600,000 in a pre-seed funding round led by Algebra Ventures and joined by global VCs and notable angel investors including Esther Dyson, the Chairman of EDventure Holdings, who has also invested in Swvl, and Jambu Palaniappan, former Head of Uber Eats EMEA.

The startup helps shippers reduce costs by improving load utilization and efficiency and offering transparent pricing, and carriers by connecting them with shippers through direct bookings which means better utilization and enhancement of their truck efficiency. Trella also allows the carriers to track their shipments in real time and keep an eye on their transportation trends and performance through different reports.

“Trella aims to disrupt the freight industry through a smooth user experience and a modern user interface. This will give both shippers and carriers access to a transparent overview on pricing, payments, load movements and status updates as well as tracking and visibility,” the startup notes on its website.

Trella was founded less than three months ago by Omar Hagrass and Pierre Saad. Omar was previously with Uber and helped the company expand Uber Eats across Europe, Middle East & Africa which included launching the food delivery service in Dubai, Cape Town, Riyadh, and over 40 cities across the United Kingdom, and Saad was a Software Architect and Technical Lead with Vezeeta, the leading health tech startup of the region. Muhammad El Garem, former Business Development Manager with OLX, has joined them as Head of Operations.

Omar Hagrass, the co-founder and CEO of Trella, speaking to MENAbytes, said, that they’re currently available all over Egypt and are lucky to have partners who can support their growth beyond Egypt, “We’re eyeing expansion by the end of 2019 in another Middle Eastern country after making sure that the business is on the right track here in Cairo.”

He also told MENAbytes that Trella will be using these funds for capacity acquisition, carrier education and expanding their product portfolio.

In a statement, Omar added, “Building on the fantastic success of ride-hailing startups, we built a similar solution for the freight industry in the region to improve efficiency throughout the supply chain. The interest in our solution has been overwhelming, both from businesses who want to use our technology, and from truckers who are getting significantly more value and more consistent flow of business through our platform. We’re optimising truckers’ routes so they’re no longer driving empty.”

Jambu Palaniappan, former Head of Uber Eats – EMEA, said, “I’m incredibly excited to invest in Trella as part of their pre-seed funding round. The premise of bringing world-class logistics
technology to shippers and carriers across Egypt is a strong one, and the Trella team is extremely well equipped to achieve their ambitious goals. I look forward to supporting them along the way.”

Esther Dyson, angel investors and the Chairman of EDventure Holdings, said, “I love companies that make complex things simpler – but not too simple. Trella’s combination of Hagrass’ real-world logistics experience and Saad’s tech wizardry is perfect for the task of making the region’s trucking infrastructure more transparent and efficient.”

Karim Hussein, Algebra Ventures’ Managing Partner, commented, “We’re thrilled to be leading this round. They’re a superstar team with proven execution ability. The large and highly fragmented freight market in Egypt is ripe for technological disruption. We are excited to be joined by a group of capable and experienced co-investors who will help accelerate Trella’s growth in the short run and support it in subsequent financings.”

In last one year, at least three similar startups, from the region that connect shippers with transporters have raised $1 million or more in funding. All of them are based in Dubai and focusing on GCC as a market.

Zubair Naeem Paracha

Founder at MENAbytes
A tech and startup enthusiast based in Riyadh. Zubair apart from leading MENAbytes is also building Qraar, a career discovery and development platform for millennials in MENA. He can be reached on Linkedin, Twitter or zubair [at] menabytes [dot] com.

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