The Cape Town-based fintech Nomanini has launched a new app called StockNow to help informal and micro retailers purchase FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) stock digitally.
According to Nomanini, there are 10 million African SMEs in the informal sector that sell FMCG, but “lack access to responsible and affordable finance solutions to keep their shelves stocked to attract customers and grow their businesses.”
These retailers need help on several fronts. They need to be able to restock quickly and without having to close up shop to hunt for new stock. And they often need short-term loans (at non-usurious rates) to restock, pay bills, and more. On top of this, retailers need tools to have a firmer grip on their finances and sales data in order to make better-informed decisions.
The StockNow app, according to Nomanini, “connects informal retailers to distributors of global fast-moving consumer brands relevant in the general trade market, enabling them to purchase goods using stock advances to keep their shelves stocked with essential goods, ensuring business continuity and support for last-mile consumers.”
Helping informal retailers use technology to do all the things that will help them grow is a large and widely-recognized opportunity that a number of well-funded startups are pursuing.
The list of companies providing tools, marketplaces, and financing to solve these issues is growing, with names like MarketForce, Trade Depot, and OmniBiz raising significant amounts of capital.
Nairobi-based MarketForce raised a $40 million Series A equity and debt round earlier this year. At the time of the raise, MarketForce said it would use the funds to “scale merchant inventory financing”, which will include launching a buy now, pay later solution that will allow merchants to stretch out their cash flow while keeping their shelves stocked.
TradeDepot is a B2B eCommerce platform that distributes consumer goods to more than 40,000 Nigerian micro-retailers.
The company was founded in 2016. Last year it raised a $10 million pre-Series B round, which brought its cumulative fundraising total to $13 million.
Omnibiz provides a set of solutions for small merchants in the FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) space. It raised a $3 million seed round last year, with sights set on international expansion.
Omnibiz is building an ecosystem for small FMCG merchants. It has a solution for each link in the local FMCG value chain — retailers, field agents, suppliers, and drivers. Omnibiz offers agents, suppliers, and drivers revenue opportunities. For retailers, it offers a quick turnaround on consumer goods so they can keep their shelves stocked.
We’ve also seen a growing number of startups that, while not focused exclusively on the informal FMCG sector, are developing methodologies to give micro-businesses access to capital at levels that were previously unheard of, at least from formal lending sources.
Finish reading at the Africa SMME Tech Report