Brimore raises $25 million in IFC led series A round to expand across Africa
Brimore, a Cairo-based social commerce platform connecting suppliers to community sellers, has closed a Series A round led by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) and early-stage investment venture capital firm, Endure Capital, with participation from Fawry, Flourish, Endeavor Catalyst Fund and the startup’s existing investors including Algebra Ventures, Disruptech, Khawarizmi Ventures and Vision Ventures. This marks the IFC’s first-ever direct investment into an Egyptian startup.
Founded in 2017 by Mohamed Abdulaziz, Ahmed Sheikha and Mohmoud Refaay, Brimore is the largest social commerce platform in Egypt. It uses it platform to assist small businesses get their products out to the mass market by connecting them with to wide network of distributors across Egypt.
The company said it has grown its revenue in the last three years at around 400x, with more than 300 suppliers and approximately 8,000 different SKUs from packaged foods, personal care, and household goods are on the platform. The social commerce platform has also built a network of 75,000 sellers (74% of them are women) covering 27 cities, primarily rural and remote areas in Egypt.
How Brimore Works
When sellers register on the platform, they see various product images from different manufacturers. They share these pictures on their socials: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Telegram, generate orders and place them on the app. Once Brimore confirms, its delivery process depends on where the sellers want their products delivered.
Brimore gets a margin from the difference between the suppliers and sellers’ prices. The company runs its warehousing and last-mile and fulfillment infrastructure through a spin-off called Milezmore.
Brimore said in a statement that it uses “its unique infrastructure (which is an ecosystem of supply, demand, logistics and finance) and proprietary technology to avail market penetration opportunities to emerging brand owners.”
Brimore Completed an Investment round from Fawry last September after raising $3.5m in a pre-series A round in May 2020 and $800,000 in a seed round in April 2019.
Abdulaziz, on a chat with TechCrunch, mentioned Brimore’s plans to introduce financial products, particularly credit service and replicate its Egyptian efforts across other African markets. “We want to crack the concept of go to market in Africa. We know that Africa is like 54 different markets with distinct dynamics of every market,” he said. “Our vision is if we crack the concept of go-to-market through people and reaching the online and offline and the component of trust all together, towards the new age of commerce, the cross border trade will be our next thing. Anyone can produce anything can sell anywhere because we enable the hard part about market access.”
The new capital will fuel Brimore’s growth within the next year, growing its network of sellers and suppliers 4x, doubling the number of its employees and increasing the number of products sold three-fold. By 2023, Brimore aims to operate in three countries and strengthen its physical logistics capabilities.
“In the past three years, we’ve focused on building a smart and reliable infrastructure that enables the masses to do their commerce businesses, wherever they are, and whatever they have,” said Mohamed Abdulaziz, Brimore’s CEO and Co-Founder. “We’ll be using the fresh fund to scale our infrastructure, enabling many more people to continue their journey of 50x growth by 2023, and opening this gate of hope and opportunity to other people in African markets.
Ahmed Sheikha, Chief Business and Investment Officer and Co-Founder of Brimore on his part reiterated the company’s ambition to “create a global model where market access is democratized through the power of people. Our promise is that we will use technology, operations and creative financing models to make it true,” he said.
IFC’s country manager for Egypt, Walid Labadi said, “IFC is excited to support Brimore as a leader in social commerce in Egypt. This is our largest direct investment in social commerce so far.” He said, “IFC’s co-lead investment in Brimore aims to help the platform continue to democratize access to e-commerce, increase economic opportunities for women, and support the development of the local manufacturing sector in the country.”
The Managing Partner at Endure Capital, Tarek Fahim, commenting on the deal said, “Every decade comes a company that fuses technology, operations excellence, and human capital to unlock unprecedented impact and value. We are proud to be Brimore’s first and continuous partner in their mission of building the infrastructure and technology for social commerce in Egypt and Africa, to change the lives of their partners, especially women who aspire for a better future for themselves and their families.”
The Managing Partner at Algebra Ventures, Tarek Assaad disclosed that Algebra has worked closely with Brimore over the last three years to support in strategic and operational areas, especially recruitment, which is a key area of focus at Algebra and the partnership has resulted in an explosive growth. “We came in on the first round of investment and we have invested in every subsequent round to ensure that the growth momentum stays on track. We are delighted to see such a strong group of investors, many of whom have co-invested with us in the past, coming into the company. I am humbled by how Mohamed and Ahmed have grown as leaders and continue to drive the execution and vision of the company forward.”