Trukker, which provides an Uber-like digital network for lorries and pick-up trucks in the Mena region, has raised $100 million in financing as it seeks to enter new markets and improve its products and services before its planned initial public offering.

The Series C late-stage growth funding round was led by Bahrain-based alternative investment company Investcorp with a $51m investment, Trukker said on Wednesday. 

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company, which is an existing investor in the venture, made a follow-on investment in the latest round along with Saudi Arabia-based Riyad Valley Capital, Egypt's Reliance Group and Iraq-based conglomerate March Holding.

"It is a significant achievement for the organisation and its leadership to have closed a late-stage venture round in the current climate in the region," Gaurav Biswas, founder and chief executive of Trukker, said. 

"It speaks a lot about the strong fundamentals of the business and its solid growth path."

The latest financing comes after the company undertook a series of technology upgrades, expansions and growth across its home markets in the Middle East and new ones in Turkey and Central Asian nations.

The company plans to use the funds to stimulate growth and "democratise access to new-age trucking by penetrating deeper into the new and existing markets”, it said. 

A considerable part of the proceeds will be used for new products and services to add to the automation of its freight network. 

“We have learned and relearned the challenges of supply chain focused on land freight,” Mr Biswas said. 

The global road freight industry has grown over the past decades to reach $3.1 trillion in 2020, according to a Frost & Sullivan report.

Although the industry took a severe hit during the Covid-19 pandemic-driven lockdowns and movement restrictions, the consultancy estimates that road freight revenue globally will grow by an average of 4.3 per cent annually from 2020 to 2025. 

The pandemic has exposed challenges of the logistics sector, including the shortages of shipping containers and freight delays that have led start-ups such as Trukker to disrupt the space with digital solutions. 

Trukker’s latest funding round was led by Investcorp’s Saudi Pre-IPO Growth Fund that focuses on companies primarily based in Saudi Arabia with the potential to gain access to the capital markets within three years. 

“We are excited to add Trukker to our portfolio and are keen to work with the founders of this regional champion to explore a possible market listing, as a continuation of our strategy and in line with our track record,” Walid Majdalani, head of private equity, Mena and Southeast Asia at Investcorp, said.

Trukker is exploring a potential listing on Saudi Arabia's Tadawul stock exchange in an attempt to tap into the region's growth potential, Mr Biswas told The National in December 2020. 

A stock market listing is “a big milestone and a lot of things have to happen before we take that step”, Anish Garg, chief operating officer at Trukker, told The National on Wednesday. 

“But that is the definitely the end goal,” he said, declining to say when the potential IPO will take place. 

Trukker has raised funds through several equity and debt rounds in the recent past to accelerate growth and expand its geographical footprint. 

In February, the company secured $96m in series B equity and debt funding. The equity component of the funding was led by Abu Dhabi holding company ADQ and Riyadh-based venture capital fund STV, with the participation of Mubadala

The company also raised a $50m venture debt from Mars Growth, a joint venture between Liquidity Group and MUFG, and San Francisco-based Partners for Growth, which is backed by the Silicon Valley Bank.

Established in 2016, Trukker employs real-time technology to support land freight in the Middle East. 

It entered the business-to-business space in 2018 and currently has a fleet of more than 40,000 lorries and more than 700 enterprise customers across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, Bahrain, Jordan, Oman and Turkey. 

The company’s platform saved an estimated 15 million empty kilometres for big lorries in 2021 and it plans to double that figure this year, it said in February.