Nigerian e-commerce fulfilment startup Sendbox has raised a US$1.8 million seed funding round to open up new markets for small-scale merchants and help build out West Africa’s e-commerce operating system.
Launched in 2018, Sendbox is an e-commerce fulfillment platform for merchants in Africa, offering affordable local and international deliveries for small-scale businesses that sell online and on social media platforms but lack delivery capabilities. The company supports over 10,000 merchants selling on WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook and has completed over 200,000 deliveries.
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. 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 and then further afield.
This will be funded by a US$1.8 million seed round Sendbox has secured from investors including 4DX Ventures, Enza Capital, FJLabs, Golden Palm Investments, Flexport and Y Combinator, the latter after the startup took part in the accelerator’s Winter 2021 batch. Sendbox’s total investment raised has now reached US$2 million following a pre-seed round from Microtraction and 4DX Ventures in 2018.
The new funding will be used to expand the company’s operations in other countries across West Africa, bolster the development of its product range, and hire new talent.
“No matter where in the world customers are, we want African SMEs to be able to reach them,” said Emotu Balogun, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of Sendbox.
“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. 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.”
Walter Baddoo, co-founder and general partner at 4DX Ventures, said African e-commerce is accelerating faster than anybody could have imagined a decade ago, and needs smart solutions to ensure that logistics and fulfilment capacity does not lag behind.
“Not only were we impressed by Sendbox’s 300 per cent year-on-year growth since launch, but we’re seeing the market potential balloon with over 40 million Nigerian SMEs and a projected industry value for social and e-commerce reaching US$45 billion on the continent by 2025,” he said.