Nigerian startup Rensource has launched a digital platform that helps small and medium-sized retailers get discovered quickly while enabling servicing and fulfillment of customer orders online during the national lockdown to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rensource, which launched in 2016 and raised US$20 million in funding late last year, is a renewable energy and merchant services company, powering the productivity of SMEs by building and operating clean energy based micro-utilities for SME clusters in the country, while offering value added services to these merchants.
During the COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria, the startup hopes to further assist these businesses with the launch of Merchlist. Rapidly developed by Rensource, it aims to keep SMEs viable during the pandemic via two main features. “Buy” allows customers to purchase directly from SMEs, while “Discover” aggregates services, contact details and delivery methods, ensuring that end users can see service availability in real-time.
Partner SMEs on Merchlist include Grocery Bazaar, Grand Square, Rx Pharmacy, Food Jaar, and The Meat Shop. While the platform is currently in its beta testing stage, only accepting a limited number of orders per day, plans are underway to roll out in additional markets across Nigeria, allowing more SMEs and merchants to go digital and access end-users.
“At Rensource we’re focused on connecting people to the most important things. Energy has always been our core business but in light of the pandemic, we see the opportunity to help small businesses who are the backbone of our economy survive by gaining access to consumers online,” said Anu Adasolum, the startup’s chief operating officer (COO).
“The launch of Merchlist will ensure that small businesses stay in business and everyday consumers can continue to access essential goods. Merchlist aims to connect as many small businesses as possible to the millions of internet users in Nigeria– simply, easily and quickly.”
Rensource has also launched a fund to support its merchant clusters during this period, with Donations by Merchlist providing food, essentials and medical supplies through various partner NGOs.