The Africa SMME Tech Report

Issue No. 14. Africa-Middle East small business tech news for 13 August 2021. This edition features Omnibiz, Moove, Dopay, Naked, Trendyol, Krypia, and more...

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Omnibiz Raises $3M to Expand in Competetive FMCG Space

Omnibiz is a Nigerian B2B eCommerce player that provides a set of solutions for small merchants in the FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) space. Armed with a fresh US$3 million seed round, the company is setting its sights on international expansion.

Omnibiz appears to be building an ecosystem for small FMCG merchants. It has a solution for each link in the local FMCG value chain — retailers, field agents, suppliers, and drivers. Omnibiz offers agents, suppliers and drives revenue opportunities. For retailers, it offers a quick turnaround on consumer goods so they can keep their shelves stocked.

The seed round was led by V&R Africa, Timon Capital, and Tangerine Insurance. Other investors included Lofty Inc., Musha Ventures, Sunu Capital, Launch Africa, Rising Tide Africa, and Seedstar. The company has raised US$4 million to date.

Omnibiz was launched in 2019 as a new venture for founder Deepankar Rustagi. His previous company, vConnect, was shuttered in 2017. He reportedly came up with the idea for Omnibiz while consulting in the FMCG space after closing down vConnect.

Omnibiz faces growing competition in Nigeria. One example is TradeDepot, a B2B eCommerce platform that distributes consumer goods to more than 40,000 Nigerian micro-retailers.

According to Apps Africa, the company was founded in 2016. And last year it raised a $10 million pre-Series B round, which brought its cumulative fundraising total to $13 million.

TradeDepot provides distribution for consumer goods manufacturers like Unilever and Nestle through a string of depots in Nigeria. It also provides micro-loans to retailers, through partnerships with financial institutions.

Also, Nairobi-based MarketForce recently raised a $2 million Series A round to focus on building up its RejaReja marketplace and to take its concept to the Nigerian market.

MarketForce was co-founded in 2018 by CEO Tesh Mbaabu and CTO Mesongo Sibuti. RejaReja is a marketplace allowing informal shops to source, order, and pay for inventory at any time via interactive SMS and mobile app. RejaReja then delivers the goods within hours.

Moove Raises $23M to Disrupt African Car Ownership

Moove, a Nigerian company that calls itself a “mobility fintech” has just closed a US$23 million Series A round to “democratize” vehicle ownership in Africa.

Moove doesn’t sell cars, but it provides an alternative way to assess credit and offer financing to car buyers. Its revenue-based model seems particularly suited to ride-hailing drivers, which Moove calls “mobility entrepreneurs.”

This is no coincidence. Moove’s website features the Uber logo and makes the claim that it is “Uber’s preferred Fleet Partner in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Here is how Moove describes its service.

Moove embeds its alternative credit-scoring technology onto ride-hailing and e-logistics platforms, which allows access to proprietary performance and revenue analytics of mobility entrepreneurs to underwrite loans.

Moove’s model is to provide loans to its customers by selling them new vehicles and financing up to 95 per cent of the purchase within five days of sign up. Moove customers can choose to pay back their loans over 24, 36, or 48 months, using a percentage of their weekly revenue. All Moove customers sign up to the Moove app to manage all transactions and access other financial products on the platform.

The latter point is notable, as Moove seems to be positioning itself as a super app of sorts for “mobility entrepreneurs.”

The company cites a vast market opportunity. Among Africa’s 1.3 billion population, 43 percent of which is urban, there were fewer than 900,000 total new vehicle sales in 2019. By contrast, there were 17 million in the U.S.

Speedinvest and Left Lane Capital led the A round, which brings Moove’s cumulative funding to US$68.2 million. The company was founded by two British-born Nigerians, Ladi Delano and Jide Odunsi. Both were educated at the London School of Economics.

The car-buying space is interesting and has attracted a number of startups that are attempting to reassess the whole notion of car ownership. One example is FlexClub, a South African platform that offers subscription-based car ownership. The platform partners with companies like Avis and Europcar and targets both private drivers and those needing wheels to drive for Uber.

Egypt’s Dopay Granted Banking Agent License

The Egyptian fintech Dopay is on a mission to help businesses in emerging markets move off of cash. The company estimates that more than 200 million businesses in emerging and frontier markets still rely on cash payments to employees, contractors, and other beneficiaries.

Dopay has been granted a banking agent license through Egypt’s Arab Banking Corporation. This is significant because it gives the company the ability to launch its “next-generation virtual banking platform.” The Dopay platform enables businesses to quickly open personal accounts for their employees, contractors. Dopay’s key partners include Barclays and Visa.

ZA Insurtech Naked Raises US$11M

The South African insurtech Naked has raised R160 million (US$11 million) in a round led by Naspers Foundry. Naked has its eye on building out its product and expanding internationally with the new cash.

Naked’s mission is “to build instant, honest, affordable insurance that people love.” The startup leans on technology to make this happen. It uses AI-based algorithms to eliminate the need for call centres and other inefficient business processes, driving costs down in the process.

It also flips the insurance business model on its head. While most insurers try to preserve margin by limiting payouts on claims, Makes takes a “flat fee upfront to cover running costs and profit. The rest of the money goes towards claims, with leftover premiums at the end of the year paid to causes our clients choose, rather than our bottom line.”

The company was formed in 2017 and initially raised R20 million (US$1.66 million) from South African insurance company Hollard and private investment firm Yellowwoods. It launched its product in April 2018.

Turkey’s eCommerce ‘Decacorn’ Raises $1.5B

The Turkish eCommerce platform Trendyol has become Turkey’s first “decacorn” by hitting a US$16.5 billion valuation following a $1.5 billion investment from General Atlantic, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Princeville Capital, ADQ (UAE), and Qatar Investment Authority. In March the company took a $350 million investment from Alibaba, which is its majority owner.

Trendyol is a massive platform serving more than 30 million shoppers and delivering more than 1 million packages daily. It also serves an estimated 140,000 Turkish merchants, many of which we presume are small businesses. Founded in 2010, the company has evolved into a fully integrated platform, offering its own last-mile delivery infrastructure (Trendyol Express), digital wallet (Trendyol Pay), and grocery/food delivery service (Trendyol Go).

Found on LinkedIn

This chart, found on LinkedIn, shows that Nigeria is the only African country ranked among the world’s 20 most active startup communities.

The BIG5D Podcast

Coming Soon: Muma Sinkala, CEO, Krypia

The next episode of the BIG5D Podcast features an interview with Muma Sinkala, founder and CEO of Krypia, a blockchain-based SMME fintech based in Zambia. The company offers short-term loans and equity financing to Zambian SMMEs.

In Muma’s words, “Krypia is a financial services platform dedicated to creating an ecosystem that works for SMEs in Africa and the unbanked. We basically aim to provide services banks or formal financial companies fail to provide to sidelined Africans.”

The interview covers Kyrpia’s mission, why blockchain is a good technology for financial inclusion, and strategies for funding early-stage startups without excessive dilution. The episode will drop next week.

Recent Podcast Episodes

Episode 20: Martin Majlund, Sky.Garden

Episode 20 of the BIG5D Podcast features an interview with Sky.Garden CEO Martin Majlund. Sky.Garden is a Kenyan mobile-first SaaS company that provides an eCommerce platform for small merchants.

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Episode 19: Simon Ellis, SmartWage

Episode 19, features Simon Ellis, the Co-founder and CEO of SmartWage. We asked Simon detailed questions about his earned wage access company, which fits broadly into the financial inclusion space.

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