A Nigerian B2B ecommerce startup, TradeDepot, has raised $10 million in a pre-series B round to delve into financial services.
The funding which was co-led by Partech, International Finance Corporation, Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) and MSA Capital, is coming after a $3 million series A funding led by Partech two years ago.
Co-founder and CEO of TradeDepot, Onyekachi Izukanne said the new fund will help the company to digitize retail distribution in Africa.
“We are excited to strengthen our team and welcome on board some incredible strategic investors and partners, as we double down on our mission to digitize and simplify retail distribution for the continent. Africa’s offline retail market is estimated at $1 trillion and this new investment allows us to capture an even greater segment of that market,” he said.
TraderDepot is using B2B to connect international brands and bigger businesses to local distributors. Founded in 2016, TraderDepot has witnessed significant growth in ecommerce, connecting big brands like Unilever, Nestle, GB foods and Danone to street vendors of provisions and everyday home items including milk, soap, and detergent.
It uses its mobile app, WhatsApp or USSD short messaging code or a toll-free phone number, that allow retailers to place orders and have them delivered through TradeDepot’s logistics.
The app is built to allow retailers manage their payments, inventory and order stock. The consumer brands are distributed directly to vendors on the continent using the central hub.
The company has built a strong supply chain in four years to seek expansion into credit facility. Izukanne said that TradeDepot now has over 40,000 retailers at its service, adding that the newly raised fund will help the company to use data to provide better deals for retailers on its platform.
“Africa’s offline retail market is estimated at $1 trillion, and this new investment allows us to capture an even greater segment of that market. We will continue to use data to drive efficiency and provide an easier stock acquisition service for our 40,000+ retailers, driving down costs for them by negotiating even better deals with our global manufacturing partners, whilst simultaneously providing a better, faster route to market for our suppliers,” he said.
The rate of its growth has necessitated faster and better services to accommodate the increase and satisfy retailers. The company said a new store is activated on its platform every three minutes and it receives on average, one retailer order every 4 seconds. It added that its volume of trade has been tripled since the last 12 months.
According to TradeDepot, the financial credit facility is a design aimed at helping retailers to grow their business. The company said that retailers face difficulty in accessing credit from financial institutions when they need it to fund their businesses because they are deemed not credit worthy.
On that account, it is creating a financial segment where retailers on its platform can leverage on when they have credit needs.
However, the credit facility is accessible by mostly women, as 75% of TradeDepot is made up of women entrepreneurs.
The new investor, We-Fi is looking to offer mentorship opportunities to women in business using the TradeDepot platform and global market links.
Hanh Nam Nguyen, the We-Fi representative said there is a wide gap in the opportunity women have to access business capital, even when they play a pivotal role in driving economies across Africa. She said that the newly raised fund will help women to access business capital and develop more Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and retailers.
“Women play a pivotal role in driving economies across Africa, but lack of access to capital, limited market linkages, cultural norms and other challenges often prevent them from achieving the success they want.
“We-Fi financing will incentivize TradeDepot to build stronger women-led small and medium enterprises SME retailer and distributor networks, which will support them to become drivers of economic growth in the communities,” she said.