Sendbox, a Nigerian peer-to-peer delivery platform for social commerce, has secured $1.8m in a seed funding round to scale operations.
A Nigeria-based e-commerce fulfillment platform for merchants in Africa, Sendbox has today announced the completion of a $1.8 million seed round from investors including 4DX Ventures, Enza Capital, FJLabs and Golden Palm Investments.
Following a pre-seed round from Micro-traction and 4DX Ventures in 2018, Sendbox’s total investment raised has now reached $2 million with participation from Flexport and YC Combinator as part of its 2021 winter cohort. The fresh funds will be used to extend the company’s activities in other West African countries, enhance product development, and hire new personnel.
Sendbox is creating the operating system for e-commerce in Africa, starting with logistics and fulfilment. The startup, which was founded in 2018, offers small-scale merchants selling on e-commerce and social media platforms economical access to local and worldwide shipping alternatives.
Sendbox is a single site to manage both local deliveries and international shipments to the EU, UK, US, and Canada. It is accessible to iOS and Android users, via a web application, on WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and other e-commerce platforms, and through developer APIs.
Commenting on Sendbox’s fundraising and growth ambitions, Emotu Balogun, CEO and Co-Founder of Sendbox said, “No matter where in the world customers are, we want African SMEs to be able to reach them.”
He continues, “Deliveries in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Ibadan have made up a large proportion of business for our domestic merchants. 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,” said Walter Baddoo, Co-Founder and General Partner at 4DX Ventures.
“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.”
Prolific mobile penetration on the continent, the rise of social media and knock-on impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic have shifted additional momentum towards e-commerce and social commerce, doubling monthly revenues for Sendbox since March 2020. Made in Africa products are now in higher demand across local and international markets.
With 200 million Instagram users and 1 million Instagram businesses in Nigeria alone, Sendbox is well-positioned to serve this growing market and multiply its merchant count over the coming months.
Over 10,000 Nigerian SMEs have used Sendbox to send 200,000 products, saving on average 30-40% on each item by eliminating the need to interact with various logistics providers. The company also provides a solution for merchants who lack the huge volume required to qualify for cheap delivery prices through its delivery management platform, which aggregates logistics providers and allows tracking.
The company’s next stage of development will focus on financing and payments, followed by e-commerce and marketplace integrations across West Africa and beyond.