NIGERIA – Betastore, West Africa based B2B retail marketplace with operations in Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Senegal, has raised US$2.5 million in pre-series A funding to facilitate its expansion to Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Cameroon by the end of this year.

The funding round was led by 500 Global, VestedWorld, and Loyal VC., bringing the start-ups total fundraising to date to US$3 million.

The Betastore marketplace enables informal traders to source fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) directly from manufacturers or distributors.

By doing so, the start-up keeps the prices of the products competitive by eliminating interactions with sales agents. It also works with logistics partners to ensure the delivery of goods within 24 hours.

“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 to expand to 100 cities across Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Senegal.

“We are also planning to reinforce our technology and leadership teams and to bring in new products and to improve existing ones,” said Betastore CEO, Steve Dakayi-Kamga, who co-founded the startup with Leo-Armel Tchoudjang mid-2020.

The B2B e-commerce platform is also set to 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, 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.

The company 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,” said Tchoudjang,

Retailers use the Betastore wallet to repay loans, deposit money for their operations and to 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.

Since launch, the startup claims to have grown its customer base and revenues by 10 and 12 times, respectively.

It anticipates greater growth especially after entering more countries and rolling out its buy now, pay later (BNPL) product as it taps the retail market in sub-Saharan Africa, which was valued at $380 billion in 2021, contributing 20%-50% of the region’s GDP on average.

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