Revolutionising Cold-Chain Logistics One MOTE at a Time — Why We Invested in Figorr
In the world of perishable goods, every minute counts. But especially in markets that aren’t fully developed, a delay or change in environmental, logistical or even external conditions can spell disaster for businesses. Recognising the need for a solution to this problem and a very significant but specific gap in the supply chain, Oghenetega Iortim founded Figorr, a technology company that provides Internet of Things (IoT)-powered solutions for the cold chain industry. Sitting in Nigeria’s sprawling cityscape, it is easy to see market potential just waiting to be unlocked. In the cold-chain logistics space, there is an industry ripe for disruption. That is where Figorr comes in.
Not Just Another Cold-Chain Logistics Startup
Figorr’s MOTE is a device as compact as a pack of cards but with the computing power of an advanced computer. It provides real-time data on location, humidity and temperature of sensitive and perishable products helping businesses mitigate against losses. Through Figorr’s proprietary software, businesses can access this data using a personal dashboard and trigger immediate action upon exposure of products to harsh conditions.
Figorr is not only its cutting-edge technology. It stands out in its approach to cold-chain logistics. The company’s offering cuts down on waste, optimizes operations and significantly elevates profits margins. This impacts the entire value chain by setting in motion a virtuous cycle within the whole industry; from production to consumption. Figorr’s solution solves a major problem for businesses that deal with large amounts of perishable cargo.
High-value shipments, especially those susceptible to environmental variations, often suffer damage during storage or transportation. According to the World Food Programme, food loss and waste is estimated to be around 1.3 billion tons per year, which is about one-third of all food produced for human consumption. This food loss and waste occurs at all stages of the food supply chain, from production to processing, transportation, storage, and consumption. Lack of insight into shipping conditions and quality of service makes it challenging for customers to select vendors and for vendors to assure their customers. Moreover, the full life cycle of transport assets is shrouded in obscurity, leading to inefficient utilisation and haphazard decision-making. Insuring shipments without transparency around the cause of spoilage is another significant pain point. It is this intricate web of problems that Figorr’s solution aims to untangle. Iortim’s firsthand experience with post-harvest losses from his fresh agro-produce venture led him to imagine a better means of storage and transportation for temperature-sensitive produce especially in a dysfunctional markets. For example, in Nigeria, food loss and waste is estimated to be around 40% of all food produced. This is a significant problem, as it not only results in a loss of food, but also a loss of income for farmers and businesses. The Figorr team took a look at an industry needing disruption and built a product with the potential to expand to other markets within Africa. The size of the problem that Figorr is solving is significant. According to the World Bank, the global cold chain market is estimated to be worth $1 trillion. The African cold chain market is particularly underserved, and there is a significant opportunity for Figorr to grow in this market.
Figorr has already proven its value within healthcare. The company was crucial in Nigeria’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, helping the National Primary Healthcare Development agency track around 40 million vaccine doses. This accomplishment speaks volumes about Figorr’s potential. But, it also brings forward its offerings and the vital need for its services not only in healthcare, but also in agriculture.
As part of our commitment to supporting growth in emerging markets and addressing multifaceted issues such as lack of cold chain infrastructure, we participated in a seed funding round for Figorr. This round, led by Atlantica Ventures and featuring participation from Jaza Rift Ventures and Katapult VC, raised $1.5 million. To date, Figorr has raised $1.7 million in equity funding and $275,000 in grants from various entities including the Google Black Founders Fund, Africa Business Heroes by Jack Ma Foundation, FbStart, and Lafiya Innovators by Impact Hub. Figorr is poised for expansion, and we are excited to be part of its journey. As the company grows, it will continue to revolutionise cold-chain logistics, offering businesses a much-needed solution for handling perishable goods.
We believe that Figorr’s innovative offerings have the potential to set off a virtuous cycle in cold-chain logistics and to stimulate further investment and development in this crucial area. By supporting Figorr, we’re not just investing in a promising company; we’re investing in the future of our global supply chains.
Figorr will expand to new markets and deepen its customer base in existing verticals over the coming years. Figorr recently rebranded from Gricd as the company is putting its data asset at the forefront of its operations and offerings. Figorr has also completed the acquisition of an insurance brokerage firm in Lagos to help with providing and distributing upgraded insurance products to customers if losses occur. The IoT data Figorr collects plays a key role in underwriting and verifying those claims.
Figorr has also signed an MoU with an insurance partner in Kenya to power its insurance product in East Africa as it commenced operations in Kenya.