JABU, a Namibian company backed by YC, has received $3.2 million for its B2B e-commerce and retail venture.
Afore Capital, Y Combinator, FJ Labs, Quiet Capital, Kli Capital, Pareto Capital, and unknown angels participated in the seed round, which was completed the last year 2021.
As a last-mile distribution e-commerce business, JABU joins a growing number of African firms that assist small merchants in ordering and stocking their items while also providing data-driven services to distributors and manufacturers.
JABU was created in mid-2020 by CEO David Akinin to improve Namibia’s ineffective and nearly non-existent distribution network and supply.
Its technology digitizes orders, transactions, and deliveries for over 6,000 retailers, including Namibia Breweries Limited, ABInBev, Bokomo, Coca-Cola, and Namibmills.
The Namibian company has eight supply sites and a fleet of cars. Distributors can use dashboards to track where their products are being supplied, verify critical performance metrics, and schedule merchandising. They can also run promotions in stores, give away products, and profit from merchandising.
Last year, venture capital companies and institutional investors competed to finance prospective and current B2B e-commerce retail companies.
Nigerian B2B e-commerce platform TradeDepot, one of the first in the market, successfully secured $110 million in debt and equity.
Morocco’s Chari, Egypt’s Capiter and MaxAB, and Kenya’s Twiga and MarketForce are among the other African firms that have received funding.
The Southern African region is highlighted by JABU. The startup is currently active in three Namibian cities and has just extended into two Zambian cities.
Since March, its monthly GMV has increased by 25 times, and the average growth of delivered SKUs has increased by roughly 53 percent. Revenue has increased 35 times in the same time period, according to the corporation.
Namibia, like most African countries, is heavily reliant on foreign currency. JABU is also attempting to digitize its physical cash collecting procedures via wallets, as a result of owning its supply chain.
When funds from retailers are received at JABU distribution hubs, it usually takes 48 hours for them to be deposited into banks.
JABU’s wallets will help businesses to deposit and withdraw money instantly in sync with these centers, eliminating the need to go through this tedious process.
The banks and others have sat back and said, ‘How can we repair this?’ Akinin said why the firm is building wallets for its merchants since the rates have grown so much and the company has gathered up so many funds in actual currency.
JABU moved from having a few R100,000 (rands) a week to millions of Namibian dollars in a matter of weeks. And it understood there’s something greater and better than what it tapped into previously.
According to Akinin, the next phase of JABU’s wallet platform would see businesses giving users other services in addition to their digitized cash.
The majority of JABU’s income comes from self-distribution or third-party fleets. Merchandising, as well as focusing on marketing and advertising, help the firm make money. In the future, it will take profits from transactions made through merchant wallets.
Akinin commented that JABU, which has over 200 workers, is planning a Series A fundraising round this quarter.
The seed financing and future expansion round will be used to extend into Botswana and South Africa, build the tech and operations team, and train the company’s current field agents.
Don’t miss important articles during the week. Subscribe to techbuild.africa weekly digest for updates.