Nigerian B2B platform, Sabi raises $6m in bridge round to drive African expansion

Sabi, a Nigerian B2B marketplace has received $6 million in a bridge funding round.

The round was led by CRE Venture Capital with participation from Janngo Capital, Atlantica Ventures, and Waarde Capital.

Bridge round financing occurs when investors invest in a startup to help it reach the next round of funding.

Sabi was founded in 2020 as a startup that enables merchants, (wholesalers, aggregators, distributors and manufacturers) to grow their businesses using its technology.

Sabi’s technology facilitates access to fulfilment, logistics, ERP tools, data insights, a B2B marketplace, and financial services. In essence, Sabi acts like a middle man between businesses and their markets.

Anu Adasolum, CEO of Sabi expressed her excitement at the investment.

“We are excited to have closed this bridge round as Sabi continues to grow at an incredible pace. Our merchant users are taking advantage of every part of our platform, and the quality of the B2B partners we have brought onto the market is clear from the ever-increasing transaction volume.”

Anu Adasolum, CEO Sabi

Sabi’s bridge round is coming a year after closing a $2 million seed round from CRE Ventures, Janngo Capital, Atlantica Ventures and Waarde Capital.

Sabi’s operations

Sabi was founded by Any Adalusom and Ademola Adesina.

Unlike other B2B platforms that buy off manufacturers and then distribute, Sabi simply provides access to assets needed across the entire value chain from the demand and supply side on a single platform.

These channels include offline agents, call centres, merchant partners, supplier centres and mobile app. Each stakeholder can access tools around inventory management, sales, tracking, digital invoices and analytics on the platform.

The one-year-old startup already has 175,000 merchants who have made transactions worth over $200 million. The platform has more than 10,000 agents that serve merchants on Sabi’s network.

Sabi makes money by taking a transaction fee when any merchants perform any sale on the marketplace. The company also earns a margin for providing loan services to them.

Expansion plans

It has taken Sabi less than a year to achieve much but there’s still more in the works.

With a monthly growth rate of 40% in Nigeria, Sabi plans to simulate this growth in other African countries like Kenya and South Africa.

The company opened shop in Kenya last month and just made a few hires in South Africa, with a plan to go live early next year.

Another round of funding, a Series A, might close in time to fuel the company’s expansion into both countries, according to co-founder, Ademola Adesina.

“Now that Sabi is operational all across Nigeria, we look forward to bringing our solution into new markets with similar informal sector challenges, starting with Kenya and then South Africa. Sabi’s team, platform, and investors are ready to continue scaling Sabi into Africa’s leading B2B marketplace.”

Ademola Adesina, Sabi co-founder

Sabi plans to also roll out a subscription model where agents will pay a monthly fee to access a reseller platform.

The startup is also set to boost product offerings by providing manufacturers with visibility and data-backed insights. It also intends to provide direct engagement down the value chain.

Pardon Makumbe, co-founder and managing partner of CRE Venture Capital, a repeat investor in the startup attributed Sabi’s rapid growth as the reason for his firm’s investment.

“Sabi’s online and offline approach to serving informal businesses, combined with the quality of its platform and service provider curation, has clearly taken root in Nigeria. The company is on track to be one of the fastest-growing African companies of 2021 and is showing no signs of slowing down.”

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