Nigeria-based Betastore has raised $2.5 milion in pre-Series A funding from from 500 Global, VestedWorld, and Loyal VC. Following the round, Betastore has raised a total of $3 million in funding.
Betastore is a B2B market place for informal retailers. It helps these informal retailers to source for fast-moving consumer goods (FCMGs) directly from their producers and distributors. This system helps these retailers to cut down on the cost that would have been incurred if they acquired these goods through middle men and sales agents. Betastore completely eradicates the need for the services of middle men and thanks to the partnership the startup has with logistics partners, deliveries to retalers are completed within 24 hours after orders have been made.
Betastore was founded back in 2020 by CEO Steve Dakayi-Kamga and Leo-Armel Tchoudjang. “There are more than 10 million informal retail outlets representing more than 90% of the total trade of essential goods. In Nigeria alone, there are more than 1,500,000 outlets selling more than $12 billion worth of FMCG goods. BetaStore gives better access to informal retailers to the widest assortment of FMCG goods at wholesale price and delivers to their stores. The retailers don’t need to close their shops to go to the open markets and visit tens of suppliers to source for basic goods,” its website says.
Currently in Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Senegal, Betastore is looking to extend itd services to new African markets. The startup plans to expand to Ghana, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo before this year comes to an end.
“What is really important for us is to be able to continue to scale by leveraging our asset-light model. We plan to enter new markets before the end of the year and to expand to 100 cities across Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Senegal. We are also planning to reinforce our technology and leadership teams, and to bring in new products and to improve existing ones,” CEO Steve Dakayi-Kamga said.
Betastore operates on an asset-light model. Under its model, the startup does not own capital and labor-intensive assets like warehouses or a fleet of vehicles for deliveries.
The startup relies heavily on its technology which its CEO claims has helped it to ensure that retailers source goods from the closest producers and distributors adding that retailers make an average of 4.4 orders every month.
“Our technology enables retailers to order on demand, access a variety of products and solves logistics headaches for them too. With Betastore, they don’t have to close their shops to go get goods from distributors stores or the market, and do not have to lose close to half of the margins in in the logistics,” the CEO said.
The CEO once worked with Jumia, one of Africa’s biggest e-commerce platforms. He led Jumia’s logistics, warehousing and marketplace fulfillment department.
Betatstore says it will be adding financing options for retailers in July. According to co-founder Leo-Armel Tchoudjang, the BNPL strategy set to be introduced will be based on the sales of retailers and is aimed at helping them grow the value of their borders and their businesses. Betastore will charge an interest based on product margins. The startup has begun to integrate its technology into a network of financing partners including fintechs and banks.
“The mandate of some of the partners we have on board is to support the economy by financing small businesses, but are not able to lend to them because they do not have the data to inform decisions. We have the visibility of what is happening in this sector, and have data they can use to extend financing,” co-founder Leo-Armel Tchoudjang said.
The startup’s product called Betatstore wallet can be used to deposit money for orders, repay loans and also send and receive money. “The wallet helps them separate their business money from their own money, and it is directly connected to the whole banking system, meaning that retailers can receive and send money to any bank, and load cash with any agency banking platform,” the co-founder added.
The startup claims to have grown its customer base by 10 times and revenues by 12 times since it launched. It expects this growth to increase as it sets to venture into new territories and issue its BNPL financing option. “We want to simplify access to goods and services for the retailers and for the end consumer because we see the merchant as an agent able to make access to goods and services easier. We started out in Nigeria, and we are expanding within Francophone Africa on our way to being a pan African player,” CEO Steve Dakayi-Kamga said.
“We believe Betastore’s talented team is creating market efficiencies that have the potential to boost the growth of Africa’s retailers. With Betastore, merchants can get greater transparency into wholesaler inventories and price points,” Amit Bhatti, the principal at 500 Global commented on the latest funding round.