Nigeria’s TradeDepot raises $110m funding to expand its buy-now-pay-later service across Africa


TradeDepot, a Nigerian B2B e-commerce and embedded finance platform, has raised $110 million in an equity and debt Series B investment round to expand its buy-now-pay-later service across the continent.

The funding round was led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group. It also included Novastar, Sahel Capital, CDC Group, Endeavor Catalyst, and existing investors Partech and MSA Capital. 

Arcadia Funds, a lender that specialises in peer-to-peer and marketplace lending as well as insurance-linked products, led the debt financing.

According to the company, the new funding will help speed up the distribution of its services to more merchants, enhancing consumer goods brand penetration and driving prosperity in one of Africa’s most important industries.

The Series B funding comes roughly eighteen months after the company received a $10 million funding round co-led by Partech Africa and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). 

Wale Ayeni, the IFC’s head of Africa Venture Capital Investment, and Brian Odhiambo, the West Africa director of Novastar Ventures, will join TradeDepot’s board as part of the transaction.

Connecting businesses with global consumer brands

Founded in 2016 by Michael Ukpong, Onyekachi Izukanne and Ruke Awaritefe, TradeDepot operates a B2B platform that connects small businesses, kiosks, and retailers with global consumer brand wholesalers who supply food, beverages, and personal care items. 

TradeDepot CEO and co-founder, Onyekachi Izukanne

The company offers a wide selection of consumer items to SME shops in its network via its ShopTopUp platform. It carries out distribution through the corporation’s own warehouses and fleets of drivers.

According to CEO Onyekachi Izukanne, the company had over 40,000 merchants on its platform last year, but now it has over 100,000.

Scaling across 12 African cities

According to the company, TradeDepot has active operations in 12 cities across Nigeria, Ghana, and South Africa. It leverages its data, technology, and robust logistics operations to connect retailers with suppliers.

The company also enables increased sales, higher margins, and other value-added services for all parties by offering credit lines that allow these retailers to obtain inventory and pay in instalments as they sell it to their own customers.

“Merchants are able to double or triple what they normally buy just because of this access. We think that these embedded financial services will be a key part of this narrative: supply chain on the one hand, and everything related to financial services to make these businesses work on the other, ” CEO Onyekachi Izukanne.

TradeDepot’s main focus is 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. These products include digital wallets and financial services, including credit and buy-now-pay-later options.

Speaking of the new funding round, the company believes that it will be able to speed up the distribution of this service to more stores, improving consumer goods’ brand penetration and creating prosperity in one of the continent’s most important industries.

“We remain super focused on making digital commerce and financing both accessible and affordable to neighbourhood retailers across key cities in Africa. We are delighted to be joined by an elite group of new investors and to have IFC’s Wale Ayeni and Brian Odhambo of Novastar join our board of directors, to support us on this journey to drive growth and prosperity across the continent, ”

Onyekachi Izukanne, CEO and co-founder of TradeDepot.

The company says it has established a network of leading consumer goods brands and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) across Africa. It says its retail store owners have seen a 200 per cent increase in transaction volumes as a result of its financing model and industry-leading logistics technologies.

“The informal sector is a large and critical part of Africa’s economy, accounting for around 80 percent of jobs in the region. We are excited to work with TradeDepot to leverage technology to help small businesses across the continent, particularly the many retailers led by women, access the resources they need to grow and scale.” said Makhtar Diop, IFC’s Managing Director.

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