TradeDepot has raised a $110M Series B funding round from IFC Novastar to extend Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) service to retailers in Nigeria.
The company, which is based in Nigeria and the United States, connects consumer products brands with thousands of shops and assists with distribution.
The Series B funding comes almost 18 months after Partech Africa and the International Finance Corporation co-led a $10 million fundraising round (IFC).
This time, IFC led the round, with participation from Novastar, Sahel Capital, CDC Group, Endeavor Catalyst,, and prior investors Partech and MSA Capital. Arcadia Funds, a lender that specialized in P2P and marketplace lending as well as insurance-linked products, led the debt financing.
Wale Ayeni, IFC’s head of Africa Venture Capital Investment,, and Brian Odhiambo, Novastar Ventures’ West Africa director, will join TradeDepot’s board as part of the investment.
TradeDepot is a B2B marketplace that connects small businesses, kiosks,, and retailers with global consumer brand wholesalers who supply food, beverages,, and personal care products. To carry out distribution, the corporation possesses warehouses and fleets of drivers.
According to CEO Onyekachi Izukanne, the company had more than 40,000 merchants on its platform last year and currently has more than 100,000.
TradeDepot’s main focus over the last five years has been on integrating technology into the supply chain and onboarding retailers one by one.
The company currently offers a full variety of products to customers who have been onboarded, including digital wallets and financial services, credit and BNPL options.
The BNPL service is integrated into the company’s ShopTopUp platform, which gives retailers access to a credit line for any consumer goods purchased through the app.
TradeDepot, like any other B2B e-commerce platform that offers BNPL services, does not issue cash advances to these merchants. Instead, it delivers customers the things and allows them to pay in installments. The effective interest rate on a monthly basis is over 5%.
“Because of this access, merchants are able to double or triple their typical purchases.” The CEO stated, “We believe that these integrated financial services will be a critical part of this narrative: supply chain on the one hand, and everything linked to financial services to make these businesses run on the other.” “We believe they complement each other. And we’ve spent the last year and a half concentrating on bringing more of these embedded financial products to market.”
When the five-year-old company revealed plans to issue credit in 2020, it established scoring models by financing credit to shops off its balance sheets with equity. According to the company, its BNPL model has resulted in a 200 percent boost in transaction volumes for retailers.
TradeDepot is setting up a debt structure to execute at scale on the back of 18 months of lending to these shops (looking at their purchase history, historical payback performance, and other related data points to predict their creditworthiness).
In Nigeria and across Africa, the vast majority of small and medium-sized enterprises are offline. These industries create $1 trillion in annual sales and $2.6 trillion in nominal GDP on the continent.
TradeDepot’s Series B investment is the largest in both equity and debt for any B2B e-commerce platform in Africa right now. The company started out supplying milk to small shops in Lagos, Nigeria, and was one of the first in the field.
Izukanne feels that the rise of new firms that target the market at numerous touchpoints, while also incorporating convenience, and innovative pricing, has made it easier for investors to perceive the value in offline retail digitization.
“If you had a conversation with an investor four or five years ago, there was a lot of education required to convince them why this was an opportunity and why they should come on board,” said the CEO, who co-founded the company with Michael Ukpong and Ruke Awaritefe.
“I believe what we’re witnessing today is the market waking up to that opportunity.” You’ve had more parties coming in, including a few significant ones, and they’re all eager to help you build this. To find the models that work, a lot of iteration is required. And having additional parties hacking at this kind of thing accelerates up innovation in the sector, which is extremely beneficial.
TradeDepot operates in 12 cities. In Ghana, South Africa, and Nigeria(Accra, Johannesburg, and 10 cities in Nigeria). TradeDepot will double down on activities in these three nations and expand its reach across Nigeria, according to Izukanne, in order to capture more of the 5 million SMEs it views as its target market. The debt funding will help the BNPL service be delivered to these retailers.