Cairo-headquartered trucking marketplace Trella has raised USD 42 million in a Series A round comprised of equity and debt, the company said. The round includes USD 30 million in equity investment and USD 12 million as debt financing. The equity portion of the round was led by Maersk Growth, the corporate venture arm of one of the world’s leading shipping and logistics company Maersk, and Saudi-based Raed Ventures. Algebra Ventures, Vision Ventures, Next Billion Ventures, VentureSouq, Foundation Ventures, and Flexport also participated in the deal. Debt financing is being provided by Lendable and other financial institutions.
Started in Egypt in 2019, Trella currently has a presence in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. In a statement, it said that the road freight market in the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan—the region Trella hopes to dominate—is worth USD 50 billion. The startup connects shippers to carriers while helping solve challenges faced by both parties. For shippers, the platform serves as a reliable option with transparent and fair pricing to move their goods and track their shipments in real-time—and carriers (or truck drivers) can improve their load utilization and efficiency by using the platform.
It currently has 350 shipping partners, including brands like Coca-Cola, Maersk, Mondi, Henkel, Orascom, and Cemex. In a statement, the startup said it has over 15,000 carriers using its platform.
Trella’s founders have previously built and scaled products and teams at Uber, Vezeeta, and OLX. Omar Hagrass, its CEO, was part of Uber’s expansion team in EMEA, COO Ali El Atrash was the regional head for the Middle East & Africa’s shared rides division, CTO Pierre Saad was a software architect at Vezeeta, and Muhammad El Garem worked in business development at OLX. The startup currently employs over 100 people across its three markets and plans to add many more in the next few months.
It plans to use the latest funds to invest in its tech and product development to fuel growth and continue to be the regional market leader.
Omar Hagrass, the CEO of Trella, commenting on the occasion, said, “This USD 42 million funding round is a huge endorsement of Trella’s capabilities, business model, and market opportunity. We have a strong diversity of investors, and we thank all participants for their support. It is great to have Maersk, as a shipper customer that uses Trella, invested in our future growth. The MENAP freight market is a significant one and urgently needs the transparency, reliability, and efficiency that Trella and its technology platform provides. We are trusted and used by some of the world’s most recognizable brands and look forward to working with our partners to scale across MENAP.”
With this funding round, Trella has become one of the best-funded players in the trucking space in the region but will continue to face competition from multiple startups across all its markets, including Trukker, which has raised around USD 45 million in equity and debt financing to date.
Raed Venture, which co-led this investment in Trella, had previously invested in Trukker. It is not clear if it still holds a stake in the Dubai-headquartered startup.
Omar Almajdouie, founding partner of Raed Ventures, said, “Our unwavering belief in the founders coupled with the booming freight sector made the opportunity to lead Trella’s investment round very exciting. Trella’s product innovation has enabled them to grow significantly in the past year despite the tough operating environment. This is a testament to their resilient business model and strong team. We are excited to support the team in their growth journey.”
Jeppe Hoier, a partner at Maersk Growth, said, “We are currently experiencing rapid development in trucking, as transportation of goods has become accessible to even the smallest companies due to new digital solutions. Trella’s platform is an excellent example of this democratization of the logistics sector. Trella is also our first investment on the African continent founded by a team with significant experience from the startup scene.”
This article was originally published on MENAbytes.