Egypt’s ILLA raises $2M to diversify its offerings to FMCG value chain
Most FMCG brands rely on a combination of owned and outsourced assets to carry out delivery operations. The variety of both models brings about a fragmented logistics cycle and FMCGs can lose significant value in the process.
ILLA is an Egyptian startup that provides full-stack delivery solutions to corporates and small businesses in the FMCG sector. And today, it is announcing the close of a $2 million funding round to scale across Egypt.
“Having worked for over 15 years in the FMCG industry working for Coca-Cola, Clorox and others, I could see firsthand the kind of fragmentation that exists within logistics operations for big-name FMCG brands, and that called for a better approach than the existing solutions,” said Mahmoud El-Zomor, the startup’s CEO who founded the company in 2019.
Upon sensing a need for such a service, El-Zomor teamed up with his co-founders — Alaa Jarkas, Ahmed Sakr and Hossam Saraya — who have some background in the industry to build ILLA.
ILLA services are designed for distributors, food and beverage chains, hotels, hypermarkets, manufacturers and other stakeholders involved in the FMCG industry.
The company has a unified platform and centralized operations team that handles middle-mile delivery logistics for FMCGs. The delivery provided by the company reduces friction between the brands and logistics suppliers as complete visibility of operations is assured.
Since its launch, the Egyptian startup has completed more than 250,000 transactions from over 65 clients. Some of these names include Coca-Cola, P&G, Danone, Nestlé, Juhayna, and PepsiCo.
According to Mohamed Emera, the company’s director of growth, ILLA is targeting the FMCG logistics head-on, which speaks to the company’s focus on disrupting the market in Egypt. The bigger picture is global, where fragmentation in supply chain is a $1 trillion market.
“That focus on the industry affords us leverage to dig deep into the problem and find solutions from within, that and the unique nature of delivery specific to FMCG gives us room for innovation that others cannot afford,” said the director.
While the company digs deep to find more solutions from within, it also plans to use this investment to fuel growth in Egypt. In addition, ILLA wants to “disrupt the traditional route-to-market for FMCG companies and SMEs while building more around its tech platform to deliver more value to its clients and drivers alike,” the CEO remarked.
The investors who led the round include Watheeq Financial Services and Golden Palm Investments. Others that participated are Loftyinc Capital Management, Kepple Africa Fund, Cubit Ventures, AUC Angels, Oqal Angel Network and Flat6Labs Cairo — it’s the accelerator’s third time investing in the company.
In a statement, Khaled Zaidan of Watheeq Financial Services said, “With the onset of covid, the global supply chain management industry is suitable for modernization, and ILLA is uniquely positioned as an end-to-end execution platform.”
“Middle-mile logistics is one of the most underinvested segments of the global supply chain market. ILLA has identified this massive opportunity in MENA and is offering a full-stack B2B supply chain management platform enabling FMCG brands to reach retailers directly at the lowest cost per case. Mahmoud and team are utilizing the trucking logistics shared economy and tech automation to innovate within a large and fast-growing market,” AJ Okereke, a partner at Golden Palm Investments, added.