Topshop, a Nigerian logistics startup, is one of the three Nigerian startups named in the Y Combinator accelerator programme.
It is looking for ways to digitise Africa’s shipping experience.
Founded by Moses Enenwali, the CEO, it started as an Instagram business.
It started in June 2020, aiming at solving the shipping problem in Nigeria.
The one-person team had worked in various companies like ACE and Sendbox and started a small logistic business in his undergraduate days.
Then he imported and distributed coffee beans.
With all the experiences he gained over the years, he was exposed to focus on his own company.
He started by questioning people with shipping experiences, and they all had a not so good experience.
“I spoke to a lot of people and realised that not a single person has had a delightful shipping experience [to and fro Africa].
The complaints were majorly around transparency, loss or damage of orders, the difficulty of accessing shipping services, ridiculous pricing, and heavy customs duties.”
And then began to help people by moving their parcels locally; reach out to merchants within and beyond Africa.
Although the Covid-19 had a big blow on the business as there was no movement, the business could survive.
It grew, and customers started referring their family, friend and acquaintance to the Instagram platform, helping them with their shipping.
Last year, the company raised a seed fund of $300k to expand the team and build software for end to end processes.
The team grew with a CTO and co-founder, Junaid Babatunde and a digital team to accelerate the software.
Onboarding, the team built a website that allows users to order a door to door shipment.
Also, the company extended the product type they offered, from shipping to freights and cargos, anywhere in the world.
700 of over 1800 users who now use the app are businesses that use Topship for their local and international shipments.
Also, the company has successfully shipped 7000 parcels of one-time shipping, intervals and business.
And it is currently on a 100% yearly increase.
The company values partnership in achieving its set goal.
The CEO had said that it has plans to partner with other tech shipping platforms like Nigerian MVX, OnePort 365 and others.
They are all gunning to solve the same problems, so they need to collaborate.
Digitalizing shipping is clearly one of the turning points of the company.
And it was able to grow from an Instagram business to a YCombinator company, the world’s biggest accelerator programme.
Topshop, a Ycombinator company
Looking to make shipping seamless for Africa, the company has been working on infrastructures to make that possible.
Over the past months, the company has been experimenting and iterating.
It says the infrastructure would also help other tech startups trying to solve the same problem.
“We are currently building an infrastructure and, once we’re done, tech startups that are trying to solve the same problem would be able to plug into what we’ve built and serve their users.”
Also, modelling after Flexport, the San Francisco-based shipping part of the YC 2014 Winter batch.
However, this year Topshop will be joining the W22 YC winter batch.
This would be alongside two other Nigerian companies, Moni and IdentityPass.
The YCombinator has a global audience, and it exposes startups selected to high network connection, advice strategies and investment funds.
Topshop and other companies selected would be getting accelerator’s fund of $500k this year.
To identify as one of the YCombinator companies, Topshop has added “(YC W22)” to its LinkedIn profile.