Cartona, an Egyptian B2B platform that connects retailers to manufacturers and wholesalers has announced the successful close of a $4.5 million Pre-Series A fundraise.
The round was led by Dubai-based, international venture capital firm, Global Ventures. Other participants in the round include Kepple Africa Ventures, T5 Ventures, and a group of angel investors.
Founded in August 2020, Cartona is a B2B e-commerce marketplace focusing on solving the supply-chain and operational challenges for the fast-moving consumer goods industry (FMCG) by digitizing the traditional, predominantly offline, trade market. The Company offers an asset-light marketplace that enables grocery retailers to order their store needs digitally from a curated network of sellers.
Since it launched last year, the startup claims it has acquired over 30,000 users in Cairo and Alexandria and has processed over 400,000 delivered orders with an annualized gross merchandise value of EGP 1 billion ($64 million). Cartona currently works with 100 FMCG companies, 1,000 distributors, and wholesalers, offering consumers over 10,000 products listed on its platform including dry, fresh, and frozen food.
Historically, Egyptian retailers have had limited access to suppliers, as well as very limited visibility on rapidly changing market prices, available trade offers, and have been dependent on traditional logistical capabilities. Cartona is designed to eliminate inefficiencies across the value chain, from buyers to sellers, by providing enhanced visibility through real-time price comparisons, and superior clarity on delivery times, while allowing FMCGs and suppliers to optimize their go-to-market execution through the use of data and analytics.
The company was co-founded by Mahmoud Talaat, the former Chief Commercial Officer of Lamar Egypt, who helped build and scale the company into a leading position with a 20% market share. Mahmoud also founded Speakol – a Mena-focused advertisement technology platform serving over 60 million monthly users.
“Small and medium retailers deserve the opportunity to operate their businesses efficiently while delivering growth simultaneously. To do so, they need access to credit, inventory, and payment services.” Mahmoud Talaat, CEO and Co-founder of Cartona said. Adding that “We are dedicated to empowering the B2B ecosystem through technology and supply chain innovation. Cartona is committed to building a strong network of digitally connected retailers that have better control over their businesses through running a seamless daily operation.”
Cartona will use this latest financing to improve on its technology to improve the user experience, launch new products and expand to other destinations in Egypt. Mahmoud Abdel-Fattah, CTO and Co-founder of Cartona, commented that “It is time to capitalize on technology beyond warehouses and trucks. Data and technology will transform traditional retail to a digitally-native one, which in return will drastically improve the supply chain efficiency.”
Cartona is looking to make a difference in the fast-growing e-commerce and retail sector in Egypt, where multiple startups are currently looking to seize substantial market share. One of which includes Capiter, a one-year-old Egyptian startup that recently secured VC financing.
Commenting on the deal, Basil Moftah, General Partner at Global Ventures said “We are really excited to lead this investment round in Cartona. The trade market is one of the most sophisticated, yet characterized by multiple critical inefficiencies across the value chain. Cartona’s asset-light approach tackles those inefficiencies by optimizing the trade process in unique ways and does so with minimal capital spent. The company has already demonstrated consistently stellar growth over the past year. We are thrilled to partner with the company’s solid, highly capable, and experienced founding team on their third entrepreneurial journey”.