One of the processes that can power up Africa is substantive business growth. A swift business growth exists when there is a seamless connection between the buyers and suppliers, but beyond this, businesses need access to working capital.
However, Plendify a fintech startup is changing this narrative by solving access to working capital for businesses on the African continent and creating strong local supply chains in Africa.
The Plendify B2B Marketplace allows users to find local suppliers, wholesalers, and manufacturers in Ghana.
Plendify was established in 2018 in Toronto, Canada by the trio of Beau Sackey, CEO, (Ghana) Michael Manirakza, COO, (Rwanda) and Roger Vandomme (France) who is based in Ivory Coast.
The Co-founders having complementary skill sets across finance, data Science and technology wanted to build a scalable and impactful business in Africa to eventually support the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)
“Initially, our business was focused on fintech lending. As a result, we partnered with a large Ghanaian bank to rollout our proprietary credit adjudication platform – PlendScoreTM”
Beau explained that Plendify’s thesis was and has always been about supporting businesses.
“So, our partnership with the bank was anchored on providing working capital loans to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) efficiently, quickly, and with minimal risk.”
Down the line, the Co-founders realized that the bank’s partnership had all the characteristics of a long enterprise sale cycle, and for a startup, this was a big risk.
This realization led the trio to make a decision about pivoting the business model to center around Plendify’s execution of a marketplace platform for SMBs.
Thus Plendify in addition to its fintech product began building an e-commerce B2B Marketplace platform in late 2019.
How Plendify has changed the B2B market narrative in Ghana
According to Beau, the B2B market in Ghana is primarily offline as there are more than 3 million SMBs in that mode, and of these offline businesses, well over half a million are suppliers.
Suppliers in this sense mean wholesalers, distributors, local manufacturers and importers.
“Based on extensive research (both primary and secondary research) we came to realize that over 90% of all businesses in Ghana, irrespective of size, spend countless hours searching (offline) for affordable, reliable and trusted suppliers. The net effect of this is wasted time, poor quality and over-spending.”
Plendify’s B2B Marketplace is changing the narrative by squarely addressing the issues previously highlighted.
“We do this in a variety of ways. Firstly, we get close to our supplier base and we onboard them as suppliers on our platform.
Part of our onboarding process requires minimal checks and validations that are done to ensure that we are only bringing onto our marketplace – businesses/suppliers that are verified.
We are also providing our suppliers with tools like online payments and national delivery, in essence providing our supplier base with broader access to markets and increased visibility.”
Beau explained that what Plendify has seen in the competitive landscape is that players in the space are focused on the consumer buyer and not on the business buyer.
Plendify has also chosen to be dominant in categories that traditional e-commerce players are not dominant in, for example, Food & Beverage, Beauty & Cosmetics, Agriculture & Farming to name a few.
“Finally, our B2B Marketplace will continue to innovate especially through our leveraging of advanced artificial intelligence tools, mindset and skills, that are displayed via our constantly improving product search engine and product recommendation capabilities.”
How Plendify is providing access to capital
“Our strategy to provide access to capital for businesses has been accomplished through our partnerships with Financial Institutions.
This list of partnerships is growing, and we have a strong pipeline of partnerships to achieve that goal of providing efficient capital quickly and underpinned by excellent service to our business clients.”
Beau further explained that Plendify’s eventual goal is to provide its supplier base on the marketplace platform with credit, especially as it leverages the data insights from their transactions on the platform.
This way, Plendify provides a holistic service of not only providing the tools and technologies to allow its business clients to scale but also help them financially through access to credit and financing to enable their growth and to manage their cash flow needs.
Beau explained that PlendScoreTM is Plendify’s proprietary credit adjudication software that is powered by Artificial Intelligence where small and medium-sized businesses will receive working capital loans.
“Our algorithm improves with each loan recommendation. Similarly, we can leverage limitless data to make better decisions and in real-time.
Closely tied are the integrated fraud detection tools we leverage to ensure that our PlendScoreTM captures all the requirements of our financial institution partners and protects the loan portfolios.”
Plendify’s unique offering
The Plendify team designs application programming interfaces on to previously untapped data sources, creating a win-win situation.
“In the short term we help our banking partners to deliver more value to their business clients and over the medium to long term we achieve greater innovation and help our financial institution partners access new revenue streams.”
In addition to the above, Plendify is focused on providing a customer-centric user experience, to make it easier for businesses to quickly complete their application on a range of devices, from mobile phones to computers.
Concluding, Beau said that since launching its marketplace platform in the 4th quarter of 2020, Plendify has seen increasing growth across all key performance indicators.
According to Beau, the platform has crossed 5000 app downloads, in less than 4 months.
“We have also steadily risen and are currently ranked #13 on the Google PlayStore for the Shopping category in Ghana.
We are also seeing higher engagement across all our offline and online media platforms which is very exciting.”
Any moment from now, Plendify would process buyer purchases and activate nationwide delivery, so the platform is expected to see a huge uptick in the coming months.
“2021 is a crucial year for us and we are also preparing to enter the Nigerian market so watch out for us soon”, Beau concluded.
Featured Image: Beau Sackey (Left); Roger Vandomme (Middle) and Michael Manirakza (Right)
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