Nigerian-based B2B e-commerce retail startup, Alerzo, has raised US$10.5m in its Series A funding round.
The startup, which is based in Ibadan, a city in southwestern Nigeria, said it would use the funds to expand geographically to the northern part Nigeria.
The startup also plans to launch its cashless payment and lending platform, AlerzoPay, as well as a portfolio of new businesses.
The Series A funding round was led by London-based Nosara Capital. FJ Labs, and several family offices from the U.S., Europe and Asia, including Michael Novogratz’s.
Alerzo was founded in 2018 by Adewale Opaleye. The startup serves as a distribution platform that helps retailers stock inventory directly from manufacturers. It centers on helping street-side vendors and shops in Nigeria’s south-western cities access household supplies quicker and efficiently.
Speaking on the motive behind starting the business, Opaleye said that:
“Growing up in Ibadan, I watched my mother operate two informal retail stores to raise my three siblings and me. Seeing the many challenges she faced running her stores, and I decided to start a business that uniquely catered to the needs of retailers just like her.”
Alerzo claims to have built up to 100,000 small businesses, with about 90% of them being led by women. Alerzo says it connects retailers to local and multinational distributors of consumer brands, like Unilever, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Dangote, and PZ.
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“Without Alerzo, these retailers need to take a day off from the store to visit a central market, pay for transportation and haul a large amount of inventory back to the store. Alerzo replaces this stressful experience by not only reducing costs and time spent running a retail shop but also improving the livelihood of these working women,” Opaleye told TechCrunch.
Commenting on the Fundraise, Ian Loizeaux, managing partner at Nosara Capital, said:
“We’ve studied informal retail marketplaces globally over the last couple of years and Alerzo really stood out to us due to a strong management team led by a founder with a unique understanding of his customer and an attractive business model with exceptional unit economics. The company is at the beginning of a compelling multi-decade opportunity to streamline and digitize Nigeria’s retail supply chain.”
Although, Alerzo has its headquarters in Ibadan, it has a Lagos office, as well as an office in Singapore. The Singaporean office serves as a regional hub to identify best practices among similar high-growth businesses operating across Southeast Asia and India.