Sendbox, the Nigerian startup digitising deliveries for e-commerce and social commerce sellers in Africa, has closed a $1.8 million seed round to expand into more African markets, scale its product offerings and hire more talents.
4DX Ventures returned to lead this investment round after participating in the startup’s pre-seed in 2018. Other investors in this round are Enza Capital,FJLabs, Golden Palm Investments and Flexport. YC Combinator also wrote a cheque as part of its 2021 winter cohort. This brings the startup’s total investment to $2 million.
Founded in 2018 by Emotu Balogun (CEO), Sendbox was built to solve the problem of logistics for small and medium businesses by providing them with affordable and reliable courier services to fulfil local and international shipping from pickup to doorstep delivery.
While Balogun was running his previous marketplace startup, Tracklist, the idea was to make it easy for merchants using their platform to handle the fulfilment side of e-commerce themselves but it was difficult. “Fulfilment was a major pain point even for merchants outside our platform, so we decided to focus on developing the idea into a business,” Balogun told TechCabal.
Sendbox services can be accessed through its web application, mobile app available on iOS and Android, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and other e-commerce platforms, and through developer APIs.
This new funding will be used to scale Sendbox’s products and talent pool and, most importantly, bring the company into more African markets. “We are launching in one other West African country first; then either a francophone African country or an East African country next,” Balogun said.
Building an operating system for African e-commerce
Following the success of its logistics and fulfilment offering, Sendbox plans to pivot into a one-stop shop for e-commerce in Africa. Its storefront offering where vendors can list their goods and services for sale is already in beta and will soon be publicly launched.
The company said its platform currently has over 10,000 Nigerian SMEs and has processed 200,000 products, helping its users to save an average of 30-40% per item by eliminating the need to work with separate logistics providers.
“No matter where in the world customers are, we want African SMEs to be able to reach them. Deliveries in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Ibadan have made up a large proportion of business for our domestic merchants,” Balogun said in a statement made available to TechCabal.
“On top of that, affordable access to the UK, EU, US and Canada has created an opportunity to sell products to hundreds of millions of previously unreachable buyers. With this fundraise, our aim is to support more and more SMEs and help them grow both locally and internationally, scaling alongside them as we connect African merchants with a global community of consumers.”
“African e-commerce is accelerating faster than anybody could have imagined a decade ago and it needs smart solutions to ensure that logistics and fulfilment capacity doesn’t lag behind,” Walter Baddoo, co-Founder and General Partner at 4DX Ventures said about their investment in Sendbox.
Not only were we impressed by Sendbox’s 300% year-on-year growth since launch, but we’re seeing the market potential balloon with over 40 million Nigerian SMEs and a projected industry value for social and e-commerce reaching $45 billion on the continent by 2025,” he concluded.