Cartona, an Egyptian B2B FMCG e-commerce startup has raised $12 million in a Series A funding round to expand across Egypt, grow its product, technology, and services, and explore new verticals beyond FMCG.
Silicon Badia, the venture capital firm investing in global technology entrepreneurs led the series A funding round with the participation of the SANAD Fund for MSME, an impact investment fund dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa, Arab Bank Accelerator, and Sunny Side. Existing investors, Global Ventures and Kepple Ventures, also participated.
Commenting on the round, Mahmoud Talaat, CEO, and co-founder of Cartona said, “We are delighted to complete our Series A fundraise. The market context for Cartona is hugely attractive, and we are just getting started. Egypt has hundreds of thousands of mom-and-pop stores that are core to our business model. We will also continue empowering them via efficient and seamless solutions in their trade and financial cycle with FMCG companies and wholesalers, aligning with our mission to help people better manage and control their businesses.”
What the Investors are Saying
Namek T. Zu’bi, Founding Managing Partner at Silicon Badia, expressed their excitement with the partnership which, according to him, will ‘help Cartona continue to disrupt the $120 billion worth Egyptian retail market.’ “We are thrilled to partner with the Cartona team to help them continue to disrupt the $120 billion Egyptian retail market through its B2B technology platform and embedded financial service offerings. The market is hungry for these types of solutions and we believe Cartona’s asset-light approach will allow them to serve as many marketplace participants as possible in a highly efficient manner.”
Equally, Dr. Daniela Beckmann, SANAD Board Chairperson on his part, said, “We are incredibly proud of this transaction as it is the first investment of SANAD ESF II in Egypt, continuing the success of ESF I investments made in the country. By providing both financing and software tailored to the market, Cartona’s digital platform is supporting innovative MSME retailers across Egypt, which will greatly contribute to SANAD’s mission of pursuing growth and employment creation across the region.”
Cartona, the Brand
Cartona was founded in 2019 by Mahmoud Abdelfattah, Mahmoud Talaat, and Rafik Zaher to digitize Egypt’s traditional trade market, which includes mom-and-pop stores, FMCG producers, wholesalers, and distributors.
It connects buyers and sellers throughout the supply chain. The B2B marketplace connects retailers directly to FMCG producers and wholesalers, greatly facilitating business. It collaborated with Henkel earlier this year to expand Henkel’s product reach to retailers and wholesalers.
With the startup’s investment in embedded finance, payments, and operational integration with all stakeholders, the e-commerce startup tapped into the government’s vision of a cashless society. This provides retailers and suppliers with an integrated solution that increases financial inclusion and allows them to run and grow their businesses more efficiently while also reaching end-consumers with essential products at affordable prices.
Also, Cartona operates an asset-light strategy. That is to say that it does not own a single product, warehouse, or vehicle. This enables the B2B marketplace platform to carry out its strategy of digitizing Egypt’s traditional, largely offline trade market by eliminating inefficiencies throughout the supply chain and providing seamless financial services to an underserved network of hundreds of thousands of shops.
With a total retail market value of $120 billion, the Food and groceries retail market alone is worth $60.1 billion. Cartona and others will find more opportunities in the Egyptian market. Egypt has over 400K shops and thousands of international and local brands, with the sector growing at an annual rate of 8%.