TradeDepot, an e-commerce startup based in Nigeria, has raised $10 million in its most recent round of investment. Partech, International Finance Corp, Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative and MSA Capital donated the sum to fund their investment plans to promote retailer financial services.
TradeDepot plans to grow into a suite of financial services, giving retailers credits. This will exploit existing trading partnerships as a rating tool to help non-creditworthy customers.
It would be particularly helpful to women who make up more than 75 per cent of retailers. TradeDepot will also provide mentorship programs with the help of We-Fi, its latest investor, which will connect women-led retailer which distributor networks to global markets.
Being fully launched in 2016, TradeDepot brings together more than 40,000 retailers in Africa from foreign suppliers of household products such as milk, soap and detergent. Unilever, Danone and GB Foods are some of the major brands it connects with local distributors. Its business model is to leverage technology to improve accessibility and affordability of household items for local distributors and vendors.
Customers of TradeDepot position orders via its Android app, WhatsApp, USSD code or a toll-free mobile phone. The retailers use the app to position orders, order stock, and control inventories online. Then, the items are shipped to retailers directly via a fleet of vans and tricycles. TradeDepot also has a central center in its database from which the products are delivered directly to the vendors.