B2B E-commerce Startups Rise Among Africa’s Fastest-Growing Companies

By  |  May 14, 2024

A notable trend is emerging in an increasingly coveted list of the fastest-growing companies across Africa: the ascent of B2B e-commerce startups. The Financial Times’ (FT) annual rankings offer a window into this narrative, showcasing the endeavour and remarkable growth trajectory of these ventures amid economic flux.

In FT’s latest list: Africa’s Fastest Growing Companies 2024, Nigeria-based OmniRetail surged to the forefront, securing the top spot with its B2B e-commerce platform; the most represented sector in the top 10. By empowering small retailers, kiosk owners, and market traders to digitize their businesses,

OmniRetail demonstrated the transformative power of technology in expanding market access and enhancing efficiency. Founded five years ago by Deepankar Rustagi, the startup recorded an impressive CAGR of 772% between 2019 and 2022, clocking USD 139.8 M in revenue in 2022, per self-reported data.

Similarly, Mauritian-domiciled Kyosk.App made waves in the 2024 rankings in which it takes second place, leveraging its digital-first distribution platform to empower traditional African retailers and farmers. With expansions into multiple African markets, including Tanzania, Uganda, and Nigeria, Kyosk.App epitomizes the scalability and impact of B2B e-commerce solutions in addressing market inefficiencies. Its revenue hit USD 155.3 M in 2022, the FT gathers, from USD 37 M in 2019.

Wasoko, a Kenyan e-commerce company that topped the inaugural (2022) FT rankings and ranked 3rd in 2023, maintained its prominence across multiple years, exemplifying the sustained growth and adaptability of B2B startups. Specialising in streamlining supply chains for small traders across seven African countries, Wasoko continues to impact traditional commerce paradigms and unlock opportunities for market participants.

The rankings underscore the resilience of B2B e-commerce startups in navigating challenging economic climates, including the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite facing macroeconomic headwinds, these companies have capitalised on the accelerated shift towards digitalisation, offering scalable solutions to address evolving market demands.

Investor interest in Africa’s tech ecosystem has surged in recent years, with Silicon Valley, Asian, and European investors recognizing the continent’s untapped potential. Although the space has been hit by upheavals of late following a venture capital slowdown, the earlier influx of capital has fueled the growth of B2B e-commerce startups, enabling them to scale operations, expand market reach, and drive inclusive economic growth.

Also featured at the top end of this year’s FT list is Chari, a Morroco-based e-commerce startup that supplies merchants, ranked 6th in a list that featured 125 African companies, including notable companies such as the Nigerian fintech challenger Moniepoint, African commodities market player AFEX, and South African neobank TymeBank among others.

The FT rankings provide insights into the evolving landscape of Africa’s fastest-growing companies. As B2B e-commerce continues to reshape the business landscape, these startups are poised to lead the charge towards a more connected, efficient, and resilient African economy.

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