Anyone that has struggled to easily and affordably purchase modern furniture items in Africa recently will know the associated challenges, but Nigerian startup Taeillo is here to help.
Formed in 2018, Taeillo is an e-commerce startup based out of Lagos that makes it easy for Africans to shop for furniture online, and even applies augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to improve the shopping experience.
It was launched by Jumoke Dada, who as a Masters student worked for a well-established furniture company in Lagos and realised there were no real retail brands like IKEA or MADE in Nigeria that were making furniture.
“The industry is still pretty much traditional, and the price points for most furniture stores don’t sit well for the bulk of the middle class,” she said.
Dada started Taeillo with just herself and a carpenter, but now has 25 people working across four teams. It has already sold over 3,000 pieces of furniture, and raised a US$300,000 pre-seed round last year.
“There is a need in the market, and we’ve shown that the market will buy if the items are right, properly-priced and available through the right channels,” she said. “At the moment we are expanding capacity to meet demand, shipping to over 50 customers weekly, and at the current adoption pace we will increase that to about 200 per week.”
She said the startup is unique in its use of immersive and exponential technologies like AR and VR, as well as its use of an on-demand production model in making Afro Urban ready-made pieces and reducing waste to near zero.
“We are now working on standardisation – strong product design, quality assurance, and production,” Dada said.
“Taeillo can easily scale across Africa once the know-how is established. The same thing being done in Nigeria can easily be done in Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda… if you get the process right.”
The startup, which makes money by selling direct to consumers and has seen over US$500,000 in revenues so far, certainly seems to be getting that process right, and has ambitions to be active across the continent.
“We will stop at nothing until there is a Taeillo piece in every African home, that Africans can be very proud of,” Dada said.