Jumba, which allows construction material sellers (known as hardware stores in the region) to restock and real estate developers to acquire the supplies they want for their projects, claims to have experienced three times quarterly increases at the end of last year.
Kagure Wamunyu, the business’s co-founder and CEO, disclosed that the startup, which presently covers 60% of Kenya’s 47 counties, is expanding its operations throughout the country to meet the growing demand for construction materials, aided by $4.5 million in early funding.
LocalGlobe headed the investment, including Enza Capital, which led a $1 million pre-seed round last year, Foundamental, Seedstars International Ventures, Logos Ventures, SpeedInvest, First Check Africa, and Alumni Angel Network.
Jumba, which Wamunyu co-founded with Miano Njoka (CTO), began by serving shops but later started distributing construction materials to developers, which Wamunyu believes was influenced by demand.
Jumba simplifies the acquisition of construction materials for merchants and developers by providing a centralized marketplace that eliminates the hassle of dealing with different vendors.
Users can easily access products through its web platform, but its team of sales professionals in several countries also assists with client sourcing. Jumba then bargains with manufacturers for reduced prices (plus their markup).
According to Wamunyu, Jumba is a one-stop shop that handles sourcing and logistics headaches. Using the Jumba platform, you gain access to their paperwork and bills for them to reconcile, as well as a civil engineer and contractor that has previously assisted Uber and Kobo360 in scaling their services in Africa.
“We run in-house logistics as one of the ways we build efficiencies to deliver for customers in a way that makes it less expensive for them to access items,” she explained.
The business is also addressing the issue of retailer financing through short-term financing supported by its bank partners, with plans to extend long-term loans to developers as well.
“Our bank partners provide financing to retailers through services such as buy-now-pay-later. “We place a lot of attention on understanding the customer, what they need, their pain areas, and then tailoring our goods to match them,” Wamunyu added. “We’re doing this to increase access and cash flow.”
Jumba is targeting Kenya’s construction industry, which is likely to grow further due to big infrastructure projects. Furthermore, Wamunyu says she is inspired to keep tackling the sector’s issues to close Kenya’s 80% housing shortfall.
“With our B2B marketplace our objective still remains verticalization in construction and tackling the difficulties in the sector. Kenya will continue to be our primary market; the possibility here is enormous. “We intend to scale in this sector to capture more clients before moving on to the next market,” she explained.
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