Trade Depot Secures $3m to Digitise FMCG Distribution in Africa

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By Emma Okonji

TradeDepot, the innovative Software as a Service (SaaS) platform for Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) distribution in Africa, has announced a $3 million in funding to digitise FMCG distribution to informal retailers in Africa.

Partech’s recently launched Africa Fund ‘Series A’ round, which will support the expansion of TradeDepot’s footprint in Nigeria and development in other countries.

Since its founding in 2016, TradeDepot has successfully developed a 360° solution integrating all participants in the trade value chain to include manufacturers, distributors and retailers. The solution quickly convinced first rank FMCG companies and has been deployed all over the country in distributors’ warehouses.

This first external funding round of investment will enable the team to drive aggressive product development and further deployment of the solution among FMCG companies and their customers.

Through TradeDepot’s platform, small retailers have a real time view of all prices and discounts available from every major brand; they can directly order products which are then delivered to them as the order is routed to the appropriate nearby depot. At the same time, manufacturers have full visibility over their distribution and can leverage the platform to optimise deliveries to their distributors, improve their pricing and have a direct channel towards their end-retailers.

Co-founder and CEO of TradeDepot, Onyekachi Izukanne, said: “The first external funding round was critical for us: we have proven that there is a strong demand for such a distribution platform among consumer goods companies and retailers in emerging markets, and we now wish to use these funds to support our growth strategy.”

According to him, for a very long time, consumer goods distribution in emerging countries with millions of small and informal retailers at the end of the supply chain has been very poorly addressed by existing tech platforms. We want to change this status quo: in Nigeria alone, this $340 billion market loses more than $4billion every year due to a lack of visibility and the resulting waste in logistics, making retailers in African countries subject to some of the highest product distribution costs in the world. “Our goal is to enable every convenience store in Africa to consistently receive their supplies at the best possible prices; to be THE supply partner for Africa’s retail outlets,” Izukanne said.

“This is a game changer in the industry”, explained the General Partner at Partech, Cyril Collon. “We couldn’t be happier to have TradeDepot as the first investment of our African fund, as it characterizes what we want to do in Africa in the coming years: support extraordinary entrepreneurs who leverage tech to solve pan-African problems, Collon said.

General Manager, Tidjane Deme, said:  “At Partech, we are strong believers in tech platforms that digitize the huge informal markets that are present in Africa. TradeDepot is one of them: they are addressing the largest market in Africa, that is today 98 per cent informal and 99 per cent offline. “Partnering with TradeDepot was a no-brainer for us after the first meeting. We were fully convinced by the founders’ vision, their strong understanding of the market and their ambition to transform this industry. The deep market experience of Kachi, Michael and Ruke has proven to be very efficient in their first two years of development and we are extremely proud to come onboard and support them in this next phase of growth, Deme said.