After the starting pistol

Big Race, Big Business? African B2B eCom Retail Startups Go For Mom & Pops

By  |  August 27, 2021

TradeDepot. MarketForce. Omnibiz. Alerzo. Suplias. 

Those are the names of the startups responsible for the rather unprecedented VC attention a relatively new African tech market is getting of late. These early-stage ventures have lured in surprisingly fat-sized cheques, and it appears all roads lead to the same destination: B2B eCommerce retail. 

Most of these startups are building out of Nigeria (Alerzo, Omnibiz, TradeDepot and Suplias), where lies the largest consumer market in Africa, crossing 200 million people. Others—not just MarketForce but also Series-A-stage Sokowatch—are based in Kenya. 

Which businesses make up the nether B in B2B? Mom and pop shops, which these startups want to bring online, for digitized commerce. Most likely, that’s because, in Africa, it’s almost Herculean to always keep kiosks, mini supermarkets, and remote markets filled with inventory. 

Mom and pops are a major division in Africa’s considerably offline and still informal retail market.

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