🏛 From diplomat to delivery entrepreneur

Africa Delivery Technologies is a logistics software platform company founded in Nigeria and France in 2018. This week we caught up with their co-founder & CEO, Romain Poirot-Lellig, to learn more.

What challenge does Kwik Delivery solve?

African economies are facing significant transformations, in particular in their procurement and retail sectors.

These changes are compounded and accelerated further by the Covid-19 crisis, which served as an eye-opener on the need to “go digital” at a fast pace. The key feature of Africa’s economy is its fragmentation. 

These transformations will therefore be successful only if a critical layer of digital services are organising the market and the resources in three vital areas: last-mile delivery, fulfillment and payment.

That’s where Kwik works hard to become a structuring actor. Our first service, the Kwik last-mile delivery service in Lagos, introduced the “just-in-time” delivery concept in Nigeria and has seen huge success so far. We will keep pushing.

What were you doing before founding the company?

I have had a diversified professional career since 1996. First as a tech & financial journalist in France, then as a fundraiser for startups during the early 2000’s in Europe an Asia.

After that I worked as a diplomat, for the EU in Afghanistan, and in West Africa from 2008 to 2015.

I also worked extensively for the new media and video games industry as a talent agent and as a lobbyist.

How did you get Kwik Delivery off the ground?

I seeded the company myself before we did a proper seed round in 2019. To make it short, we had a clear idea of what we wanted to do, we gathered the right skills and we jumped!

How much money have you raised so far?

We did a €500k seed round in two stages in 2019 and we are about to close a pre-Series A round.

What went into building the early stage product?

Both humility and ambition. Lagos is a hugely complex market with very specific challenges. Listening, learning and being responsive to the signals the market is sending you is very important in this environment.

What’s your tech stack?

We started from a core white label solution that evolved very quickly into a proprietary platform.

On top of that, we use Google Maps for all location-related issues as well as our friends at PayStack and Paga for payments.

I’ll take this opportunity to point out that Google should look at making its services more affordable for African startups, that would be a winning bet in the medium to long term.

Where do you currently operate?

We launched the service in Lagos in June 2018 and we are looking to expand to other key Nigerian cities as well as in relevant neighbouring countries.

What’s your business model?

We are true to the spirit of the platform economy - asset-light and we leverage on the market’s available resources.

Strategically-speaking, Kwik is a market organiser with a strong focus on innovation. Customers, riders and drivers join our platform to benefit from the ecosystem and we take our cut. 

Our key operational role is to make sure rules are enforced and that everyone benefits.

What metric do you use to measure success?

Classic KPIs such as new users, WAU/MAU, activation rate and recurring spend. These are the metrics that tell us if we have succeeded at becoming indispensable to the growth of our customers’ business or not.

What do you love most about running the company?

Well, I love Nigeria. It’s the country where everything and anything can happen. The local ecosystem for tech companies is amazing! We hope the government will augment this environment over the coming decades.

What company do you look to for inspiration?

We have many inspirations around the world. Lalamove and Grab in Asia, Uber of course, Revolut and many others.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt so far?

I’ve learned to trust and delegate, it was not natural for me. Because we have an incredible team delegating has become easier for me.

What are your views on the African tech ecosystem?

It’s amazing. There is so much talent and innovation. It’s the future of Africa being built under our eyes.

These ecosystems would benefit a lot from mobile data becoming a true commodity with more affordable prices, thus enlarging significantly the market for tech companies. That’s a key area where governments can act.

🚀 In the News

🇳🇬 Nigerian fintech company, Credpal, raised $1.5 million from Y Combinator and GreenHouse Capital.

🐐 Sherpa Ventures launched its Basecamp Fund consisting of $1 million which will be allocated to seed investments across Africa.

🇿🇦 South African celebrity engagement platform, myFanPark has merged with US competitor, Starsona.

🌎 Further afield sales software juggernaut, Salesforce, bought communication platform, Slack, for $27 billion.