July 14, 2020: TradeDepot, the B2B eCommerce platform for consumer goods in Africa, has raised a further $10 million in a pre-Series B equity round co-led by Partech, International Finance Corporation, Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) and MSA Capital. This is in addition to the $3 million Series A led by Partech in 2018.
TradeDepot will use the new investment to continue its integration of the fragmented informal retail supply chain in Nigeria, expand into other African cities and launch a suite of financial products and credit facilities, to support its retailers.
Onyekachi Izukanne, chief executive officer and co-founder of TradeDepot said, “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. We will continue to use data to drive efficiencies 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.”
More than 75 percent of the retailers on TradeDepot’s platform are female entrepreneurs and TradeDepot will offer mentorship and opportunities to link with domestic and global markets, to further support its predominantly female customer base to grow and expand their own businesses.
Hanh Nam Nguyen, programme manager, speaking on behalf of IFC as implementing partner of We-Fi, said, “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 their communities.”
Since its launch in 2016, TradeDepot has built a network of more than 40,000 micro retailers in Nigeria. Working with global distributors and manufacturers including Nestlé, Unilever, GB Foods and Danone, TradeDepot makes household supplies, such as milk, soap, detergent and other essentials more accessible and affordable for the informal urban retail networks it operates in.
Retailers order and pay for goods using TradeDepot’s mobile apps (Android and Whatsapp), USSD or a toll-free number and have them delivered directly to their stores via the company’s fleet of vans and tricycles. They can also order stock and manage their inventory online, with a number of ways to pay, including digital payments and cash. For consumer goods brands, TradeDepot enables direct-to-retail distribution in the massive informal sector in some of Africa’s busiest cities. TradeDepot also provides a CRM and data management system that enables suppliers to plan and monitor their sales routes in real time, as well as gain invaluable insights into trade and retail data.
Wale Ayeni, head of Africa Venture Capital Investment at IFC added, “TradeDepot is a rising star in the African internet landscape, helping digitise a substantial underserved informal retail segment, which is the pillar of economic growth in Africa. The founders’ vision to build a digital platform that improves the unit economics of serving the mass-market is one that we feel privileged to support.”
Working with TradeDepot, retailers across Nigeria have increased their revenue and improved their business outcomes as a result of better access to products for their stores. One retailer grew the amount of sales transacted by more than 15x. Another retailer who was barely breaking even and had seen no real growth in 15 years was able to increase her net monthly margin by almost 100 percent monthly, hire three new employees and is now considering expansion.
Tidjane Deme, general partner at Partech said, “We are proud to continue our partnership with TradeDepot as they continue their work to transform the huge informal markets that are present in Africa. The founders have a wealth of experience that puts them in a great position to execute on their vision, and their approach and results to-date are why we are so excited by the extraordinary entrepreneurs harnessing the power of technology to address issues across the continent.”
Using data and analytics to inform better retail decision making at each stage of the supply chain, TradeDepot has recorded considerable growth since its launch, activating a new store every three minutes, and receiving a retailer order every 4 seconds, on average. The company has also tripled its volume of trade in the last 12 months.
Ben Harburg, managing partner at MSA Capital said, “TradeDepot is leading the digitization of informal enterprise across West Africa at the most critical touch point – the distribution and sale of essential foodstuffs by SME retailers – driving efficiency improvements, increased service offerings, and costs savings to both consumers and merchants.”
In a bid to help retailers grow their businesses, TradeDepot is set to launch a suite of financial products and credit facilities. Many retailers do not have the collateral that banks demand but by leveraging their trading relationship with TradeDepot, retailers can access the funds they need to buy more goods, scale their businesses and generate more revenue.