Nigerian-based B2B retail marketplace for informal retailers, BetaStore has secured $2.5 Million in a pre-series A round led by 500 Global, with participation from VestedWorld, and Loyal VC to solve stock-outs and financing challenges for informal retailers in West and Central Africa.
BetaStore allows informal traders to source fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) directly from manufacturers or distributors – which keeps the prices of the products competitive by eliminating interactions with sales agents. It also partners with logistics operators to guarantee the delivery of goods within 24 hours.
The tech-enabled B2B retail startup, which currently operates in three African markets – Nigeria, Senegal, and Ivory Coast, plans to utilize the fund to expand into Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Cameroon by the end of this year, as well as decentralizing its products and services to serve more informal retailers.
Commenting on the funding round, Steve Dakayi-Kamga, the Chief Executive Officer of Betastore who co-founded the startup with Leo-Armel Tchoudjang in 2020 said, “What is really important for us is to be able to continue to scale by leveraging our asset-light model. We plan to enter new markets before the end of the year and expand to 100 cities across Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Senegal. We are also planning to reinforce our technology and leadership teams, bring in new products, and improve existing ones.”
Dakayi-Kamga said the asset-light model that the startup adopted has helped optimize its technology to ensure that retailers source goods from the closest distributors.
“Our technology enables retailers to order on demand, access a variety of products, and solve logistics headaches for them too. With Beta store, they don’t have to close their shops to go get goods from distributors stores or the market, and do not have to lose close to half of the margins in the logistics.”
Betastore will introduce financing in July, a launch that follows a pilot program involving 200 retailers that the startup carried out last year.
The BNPL financing strategy, the CEO said, will be based on retailers’ sales and will go a long way in helping them to grow the value of their shopping baskets, and ultimately their businesses. The startup plans to charge an interest based on product margins.
Betastore is currently integrating its technology into a network of financing partners including fintechs and banks.
“The mandate of some of the partners we have on board is to support the economy by financing small businesses, but are not able to lend to them because they do not have the data to inform decisions. We have the visibility of what is happening in this sector, and have data they can use to extend financing,” Dakayi-Kamga said.
Retailers use the Betastore wallet to repay loans, deposit money for their operations, and send, receive and save money.
“The wallet helps them separate their business money from their own money, and it is directly connected to the whole banking system, meaning that retailers can receive and send money to any bank, and load cash with any agency banking platform,” Tchoudjang explained.
Betastre claimed to have grown its customer base and revenues by 10 and 12 times, respectively since launch. The startup anticipates greater growth especially after entering more countries and rolling out its buy now pay later (BNPL) product.
“We want to simplify access to goods and services for the retailers and the end consumer because we see the merchant as an agent able to make access to goods and services easier. We started in Nigeria, and we are expanding within Francophone Africa on our way to being a pan African player, ” Dakayi-Kamga concluded.
Amit Bhatti, the principal at 500 Global said, “We believe Betastore’s talented team is creating market efficiencies that have the potential to boost the growth of Africa’s retailers. With Betastore, merchants can get greater transparency into wholesaler inventories and price points.”