Nigeria – Alerzo, an Ibadan B2B ecommerce retail startup has announced a $10.5 million Series A round led by London-based Nosara Capital. According to TechCrunch, FJ Labs and several family offices participated in the round. The startup has raised more than $20 million from investors, including the Baobab Network and Signal Hill.
The B2B platform cuts out the middlemen and helps traditional retailers source products from manufacturers, and provide them with last-mile delivery to their trading spaces in less than 10 hours. Retailers can order products via SMS, voice and WhatsApp.
Alerzo focuses on street vendors and micro-retailers in Nigeria’s South-Western cities, including Ibadan, Ekiti, and Abeokuta. According to the company, they have established a network of up to 100,000 small businesses, 90% of which are women. The startup works with FMCG companies such as Unilever, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Dangote, and PZ.
The B2B ecommerce space is heating up in Nigeria, with TradeDepot and Omnibiz recently also securing funding. TradeDepot raised $10 million in a new round of funding to expand its business into financial services, and Omnibiz raised a seed round of $3 million to expand into new markets. Another player we previous covered is One Kiosk Africa.
Nigeria’s retail market is predominantly fragmented, dominated by a complex distribution network of micro-retailers, kiosks, hawkers, table-top sellers, open market traders, wholesalers, and suppliers. Retailers are small, spread out over many locations, and with low volume per drop — distributors struggle to service them cost effectively. There are an estimated 1.2 million informal retailers in Nigeria, according to Nielsen.
With low consumer spending, slow mall development, and currency devaluation, modern retailers have found the going tough in the country. Shoprite, Africa’s biggest supermarket chain, last year announced its exit from the country.