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E-commerce Startup Sendbox Raises $1.8M to Digitise Deliveries for African SMEs

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Sendbox, the Nigeria-based e-commerce fulfilment platform for merchants in Africa, has announced the completion of a $1.8 million seed round from investors, including 4DX Ventures, Enza Capital, FJLabs and Golden Palm Investments.

With participation from Flexport and YC Combinator as part of its 2021 winter cohort, Sendbox’s total investment raised has now reached $2 million following a pre-seed round from Microtraction and 4DX Ventures in 2018.

Starting with logistics and fulfilment, Sendbox is building the operating system for e-commerce in Africa. Launched in 2018, the company provides affordable access to local and international delivery options for small-scale merchants selling on e-commerce and social media platforms. Accessible to iOS and Android users, via the web application, on Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram and other e-commerce platforms, and through developer APIs, Sendbox is providing a single location to manage both local deliveries and international shipments to the EU, UK, US and Canada.

To date, over 10,000 Nigerian SMEs have sent 200,000 products through Sendbox, saving on average 30-40 percent per item by eliminating the need to work with separate logistics providers. Through its delivery management platform, which aggregates logistics providers and enables tracking, the company also offers a solution for merchants who lack the high volumes required to attract discounted delivery fees.

The next stage of the company’s growth will see a move towards financing & payments, followed by e-commerce & marketplace integrations across West Africa and further afield. According to the company, the new funding will be used to expand the company’s operations in other countries across West Africa, bolster the development of its product range, and hire new talent.

Commenting on Sendbox’s fundraise and growth ambitions, Emotu Balogun, CEO and Co-Founder of Sendbox said, “No matter where in the world customers are, we want African SMEs to be able to reach them.” He continues, “Deliveries in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Ibadan have made up a large proportion of business for our domestic merchants. On top of that, affordable access to the UK, EU, US, and Canada has created an opportunity to sell products to hundreds of millions of previously unreachable buyers. With this fund, we aim to support more and more SMEs and help them grow both locally and internationally, scaling alongside them as we connect African merchants with a global community of consumers.”

“African e-commerce is accelerating faster than anybody could have imagined a decade ago, and it needs smart solutions to ensure that logistics and fulfilment capacity doesn’t lag behind,” said Walter Baddoo, Co-Founder and General Partner at 4DX Ventures. “Not only were we impressed by Sendbox’s 300 percent year-on-year growth since launch, but we’re seeing the market potential balloon with over 40 million Nigerian SMEs and a projected industry value for social and e-commerce reaching $45 billion on the continent by 2025.”

Prolific mobile penetration on the continent, the rise of social media and knock-on impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic have shifted additional momentum towards e-commerce and social commerce, doubling monthly revenues for Sendbox since March 2020.

Made in Africa products are now in higher demand across local and international markets. With 200 million Instagram users and 1 million Instagram businesses in Nigeria alone, Sendbox is well-positioned to serve this growing market and multiply its merchant count over the coming months.

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Fund Raising

Fintech Company Julaya, Raises $5 Million Extension Round To Expand Operations In West Africa

Julaya has raised $5 million in an extension round to take the total fund raised since 2021 to $7 million following the $2 million raised in a pre-series fund rounding early in 2021.

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Ivorian Fintech firm Julaya has raised $5 million in an extension round to take the total fund raised since 2021 to $7 million following the $2 million raised in a pre-series fund rounding early in 2021.

The round was led by the European Venture capital fund, Speed invest, which has six unicorns in its portfolio.

Also participating in the round include EQ2 Ventures, Kibo Ventures, the angel groups Unpopular Ventures, Jedar Capital, previous backers Orange Ventures, Saviu, 50 Partners, Ivorian entrepreneur Mohamed Diabi, and Chelsea football player Édouard Mendy.

Founded in 2018, Julaya which primarily uses mobile money channels to enable B2B payments for companies in Francophone Africa, disclosed that proceeds from the financing round will be used to expand its operations into the West African market.

The startup’s product line has recently been expanded to include a “Cash & Collect” solution that enables “quick and secured” cash collection, particularly in the Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry.

More than 500 SMBs, startups, large corporates, and government institutions, including famous brands such as Africa’s e-commerce giant Jumia, use Julaya as their digital account to pay their partners and collect payments.

CEO & co-founder of Julaya Mathias Léopoldie said, “African companies are eager to improve their profitability, and digitizing their finances is one of the most important steps for them to grow their business.

“90% of payments are still made in cash on the continent, and Julaya is proud to be part of the fintech landscape that helps businesses be more successful.”

Principal at Speedinvest Enrique Martinez-Haussmann, speaking on how Julaya’s technology is changing how companies operate, said, “Julaya’s technology is fundamentally changing how companies operate in an increasingly complex payment landscape across Francophone Africa.

“As we look ahead, the potential for Julaya’s technology goes far beyond its payment capabilities, having the opportunity to become a close banking partner for companies in West Africa.”

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Fund Raising

Health Tech Startup Remedial Health, Raises $4.4 Million Seed Fund, Improves Access to Medicines

Remedial Health has raised $4.4 million in seed funding to expand credit provision and support growing operations

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Nigerian Healthtech startup, Remedial Health which uses pharmaceutical procurement innovations and pharmacy operations management solutions to improve access to genuine and affordable medicines in Africa, has raised $4.4 million in seed funding.

According to the startup, the fund will accelerate its expansion across Nigeria by providing access to credit for inventory purchases, enhancing the company’s growing customer base of neighborhood pharmacies, hospitals in the country, and Proprietary Patent Medicine vendors (PPMVs).

The latest seed round was led by Global Ventures, the VC agency that co-led its pre-seed round, Y Combinator, Tecent, Cathexis Ventures, LightSpeed Venture Partners Scout Fund, Ventures Platform, Alumni Ventures, True Capital Management, and several angel investors together with Guillaume Luccisano and Christopher Golda.

Since launching Remedial Health in 2021, the startup has taken its operations to 16 states in Nigeria, with plans to expand into the remaining 20 states of the country.

The startup has so far focused on delivering solutions for neighborhood pharmacies and PPMVs who are responsible for more than 80 percent of the retail medicines sold in Africa. These businesses also serve as the frontline of healthcare delivery and a vital component of how we safeguard lives and livelihoods across the continent.

Speaking on the Startup’s mission and its achievements so far, CEO of Remedial Health, Samuel Okwuada disclosed that since the beginning of the year, the startup has grown in leaps owing to the uptake of its digital offering, expansion activities and buy-now-pay-later product.

He said; “We have seen more than 6x growth in the number of customers on our platform since January.

“The feedback we constantly receive about what they like the most about our platform is around the ease and efficiency of our inventory finance offering, the variety of products they can access on our platform, and the effectiveness of our procurement process wherever our customers are based in Nigeria, they typically receive their orders within 24 hours.”

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Fund Raising

Insurtech Startup, Turaco Secures $10 Million Series A Round Fund Raise

Kenyan insurance technology startup, Turaco has secured $10 million in funding Series A equity round.

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Kenyan insurance technology startup, Turaco has secured $10 million in funding Series A equity round.

This seed round was led by investment and financial services company, AfricInvest via the Cathay Africinvest Innovation Fund, and existing investor, Novastar Ventures.

Other participating investors were Operator Stack, Global Partnerships, Enza Capital, Zephyr Acorn, Asi Ventures Limited, and Push Ventures.

Through its B2B2C model, Turaco has created an expansive distribution channel that has enabled it to tap into a large pool of potential customers in its markets, including in Uganda and Nigeria.

With this new funding, the startup is set to move into its next phase, with an eye on more partnerships so as to drive mass adoption for insurance in Africa.

Speaking on this fundraising, Turaco co-founder and CEO Ted Pantone said; “We want to insure a billion people in the next 25 years and that’s what we’re building towards.

“It’s an audacious goal in every way and I can’t even really describe how to get there, but I have a clear vision of insuring 100 million people. Getting to that next stage of growth means working with some of the largest brands in the world.

“We have the right mix of talent, ambition, technology, and vision to get us there. But it’s a long road ahead of us for sure”.

Founded in 2019, Turaco explained that its mission is to free people from the fear of financial shocks by offering them comprehensive insurance coverage.

Through its API integration, Turaco’s partners like PayGo companies M-KOPA, ride-hailing platforms SafeBoda, fintechs and micro-finance institutions were able to integrate insurance products into their core offerings.

The insurtech works closely with each partner, to “design and distribute its insurance products as a white-labeled offering.” The customers buy life, asset, medical, and vehicle insurance from as low as $0.2.

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