Sabi, an African energy company offering power-as-a-service to customers has raised a $6 million bridge round fund.
The startup company confirmed to TechCrunch that funds are to b used to serve the informal sector.
Led by pan-African VC firm CRE Venture, Sabi secured the bridge fund a year after it closed a $2 million seed round from CRE Ventures, Waarde Capital, Atlantica Ventures, and Jaango Capital.
Rensource, which has been providing small and medium businesses with power, started looking into other pain points these SMEs in order to find ways to add value beyond energy provision.
Due to the pandemic halting businesses, the team at Rensource came up with the concept of Sabi in October 2020.
Sabi is a platform that provides various online and offline channels to facilitate African trade in the informal sector.
It aims to complement the middlemen (mainly distributors) in the B2B e-commerce retail chain without replacing them.
Sabi models other prominent B2B retail e-commerce startups such as MaxAB, TradeDepot, Sokowatch and Twiga.
Following the company’s branch out in March, Adasolum takes lead of Sabi’s efforts as founder and CEO, while Adesina holds a co-founder and director role.
“We’re not trying to take your place or be you as a tech-enabled digital distributor. We’re only trying to complement your efforts as middlemen in a market full of hyper-specialization where one of the defining attributes of the informal sector is agents performing a narrow role,” Adesina said
He also highlighted the need for specialization for the sector to work properly. Middlemen play important role in aggregation, knowing the customer well or even making a scale. We make infrastructure available and also give them a set of tools to optimize their business.
Sabi attends to the different needs of manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers, classifying them as merchants.
Operating on an asset-light model, the company doesn’t own vehicles, warehouses or goods rather it provides assets with visibility across the entire value chain and controls on a single platform.
Sabi’s model exempts it from facing the constraints a typical B2B e-commerce retail platform might face when functioning as a distributor for manufacturers to retailers.
Speaking on Sabi’s model, CEO Adasolum said, “We try understanding the different types of users using our processes and policies while monitoring how the third parties we work with are serving them.”
“I’m not going to go to alter or remodel any business’ model, instead, I offer several other comfortable channels through our platform.”, he added.
The company earns by taking a transaction fee when a sale is performed by any merchant on the marketplace. It also earns a margin for providing financing.
A rollout plan for the subscription model has been set for Q1 2022. Agents will be expected to pay a monthly fee to access a reseller model.
Sabi is also working towards providing visibility, direct engagement and data-backed insight for manufacturers.
Sabi plans to replicate its rapid growth in other African countries like Kenya and South Africa after growing a monthly average of 40% in Nigeria.
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