Sendbox raise $1.8m seed round for West African expansion
Sendbox, the Nigeria based e-commerce fulfillment platform for merchants in Africa, has completed a $1.8 million seed round from investors including 4DX Ventures, Enza Capital, FJLabs and Golden Palm Investments.
The new funding will be used to expand the company’s operations in other countries across West Africa, reinforce the development of its product range, and hire new talents.
With participation from Flexport and YC Combinator as part of its 2021 investors, Sendbox’s total investment raised has now reached $2 million following a pre-seed round from Microtraction and 4DX Ventures in 2018.
“No matter where in the world customers are, we want African small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to be able to reach them. Deliveries in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Ibadan have made up a large proportion of business for our domestic merchants. On top of that, affordable access to the UK, EU, US and Canada has created an opportunity to sell products to hundreds of millions of previously unreachable buyers,” Emotu Balogun, CEO and Co-Founder of Sendbox said.
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Starting with logistics and fulfilment, Sendbox is building the operating system for e-commerce in Africa.
The company, which was launched in 2018, is a platform that provides infrastructure for shipping and payments to individuals who participate in e-commerce on social media platforms.
It provides affordable access to local and international delivery options for small-scale merchants, and it is accessible to iOS and Android users, via web application, on Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram and other e-commerce platforms, and through developer application programming interface (APIs).
Over 10,000 Nigerian SMEs have sent 200,000 products through Sendbox, saving on average 30 to 40 percent per item by eliminating the need to work with separate logistics providers.
Through its delivery management platform, which aggregates logistics providers and enables tracking, the company also offers a solution for merchants who lack the high volumes required to attract discounted delivery fees.
Sendbox is providing a single location to manage both local deliveries and international shipments to the EU, UK, US and Canada.
The next stage of the company’s growth will see a move towards financing and payments, followed by e-commerce and marketplace integrations across West Africa.
Sendbox is available to sellers right across a wide range, empowering designers, micro-manufacturers and entrepreneurs who produce their own goods and distribute them on behalf of others.
In terms of products, Clothing, Fashion and Lifestyle, and Beauty and Self-Care have been most prominent since launch, while the company expects other categories to grow rapidly as SMEs continue to expand their customer bases.
“With this fundraise, our aim is to support more and more SMEs and help them grow both locally and internationally, scaling alongside them as we connect African merchants with a global community of consumers,” Balogun said.
Prolific mobile penetration on the continent, the rise of social media and knock-on impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic have shifted additional momentum towards e-commerce and social commerce, doubling monthly revenues for Sendbox since March 2020.
Made in Africa products are now in higher demand across local and international markets. With 200 million Instagram users and 1 million Instagram businesses in Nigeria alone, Sendbox is well positioned to serve this growing market and multiply its merchant count over the coming months.
“African e-commerce is accelerating faster than anybody could have imagined a decade ago and it needs smart solutions to ensure that logistics and fulfilment capacity doesn’t lag behind,” Walter Baddoo, Co-Founder and General Partner at 4DX Ventures, said.
4DX Ventures is a Pan-Africa Focused Venture Capital Firm whose mission is to connect people, ideas, and capital to create a vibrant African community.
This is achieved by partnering with bold and gifted entrepreneurs who are building companies that will usher in Africa’s technology age and seeking founders who are focused, creative, and have a growth mindset.
“Not only were we impressed by Sendbox’s 300 percent year-on-year growth since launch, but we are seeing the market potential balloon with over 40 million Nigerian SMEs and a projected industry value for social and e-commerce reaching $45 billion on the continent by 2025,” Baddoo said.