NIGERIA – Orda, a restaurant management startup, has raised a US$1.1 million pre-seed funding round to speed its growth and expand across the continent.

The round was led by Lofty Inc Capital Management, with participation from Techstars – Boulder, Magic Fund, Hustle Fund, Norrsken Foundation, Microtraction, DFS Labs, Oxford Seed Fund, Enza Capital and Agrolay Advisors, as well as Ire Aderinokun, Jesse Ovia, Ademola Adesina and other angel investors.

Following the raise, the startup is looking to expand into South Africa by the end of this year.

Launched in 2020, Orda formerly known as StarKitchens, is a cloud-based restaurant management system provider that hopes to provide one operating system to power African restaurants.

Since its launch, the Lagos-based startup has worked with several well-known African and global restaurants including Barcelos, Eric Kayser, Johnny Rockets and Ofadaboy.

Speaking on the inspiration behind the technology, Guy Futi, the startup’s CEO, said the team had kept trying to address the real pain points of chefs, caterers and small restaurants.

While big restaurants and restaurant chains are often capable of setting their management systems or using well-known point-of-sale providers, thousands of smaller restaurants in Africa rely on offline methods such as pen and paper to produce receipts and make reconciliations.

“Before Orda, a small food business owner could spend up to four hours a day reconciling transactions while trying to figure out losses, as they don’t have access to software that does analytics and inventory management right off the gate.

“In the process we noticed that food business owners were not fully integrated with local payment solutions, online sales channels, and logistic providers. This made their operations even more difficult,” said Guy.

Orda has developed a full-stack approach to integrating local payments, logistic companies while building inventory management, and business analytics for small to medium-sized food businesses.

This is the only technology solution on the continent that allows restaurants to accept and process all their in-store, website, social media, WhatsApp, Jumia Food, Glovo and Bolt Food orders from one easy-to-use interface.

“We can confidently say that no one has done as much work as we have to build an end-to-end solution for our food business owners. We are excited to usher in much needed digitisation to the sector,” said CTO Fikayo Akinwale.

The startup’s cloud-based solution is currently available for restaurants in Nigeria and Kenya. Its Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) has been growing at more than 15 per cent week-on-week as Orda now processes thousands of weekly transactions.

Idris Ayodeji Bello, managing partner of LoftyInc Capital Management, said his team invested in Orda because it was building the core digital infrastructure for restaurants across Africa.

“The team has done the hard work of figuring out the core problems that African restaurant owners are facing and is building a solution that can revolutionise the food business across the continent. LoftyInc is excited to back a solution-focused team like Orda,” he said.

Cloud-based point of sales for small, medium and large-sized restaurants has increased tremendously in both size and popularity.

The market, dominated by incumbents like Toast and upcoming players such as MarginEdge and Brazil’s Zak, has its value pegged at over US$70 billion globally and is expected to reach US$116 billion in the next four years.

As with most technologies, Africa is playing catch up in this food-tech segment. But startups such as Orda are paying attention to the market, positioning themselves to become top players when it matures.

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