NIGERIA – Vendease, a Nigeria based online marketplace that allows restaurants and other food businesses to stock up their supplies, access financial services and power their business operations, has raised US$30 million in an equity and debt funding round.

This comes after the Y Combinator-backed digital platform raised a US$3.2m seed round last October, with a focus to consolidate its growth and operations in Nigeria and Ghana, and to support its expansion across the continent.

The series A equity round of US$20 million was co-led by TLcom and Partech, in a rare joint investment by two of the biggest Africa-focused funds.

Following their investments, Andreata Muforo a partner at TLcom and Cyril Collon, general partner at Partech will join Vendease’s board as new directors.

The equity round also saw participation by VentureSouq, Hustle fund, Hack VC, GFR Fund, Kube VC, Magic Fund and Kairos Angels, who re-invested after participating in the previous round.

Meanwhile, the US$10 million debt round was raised from the local finance market.

Africa’s restaurants and food businesses feed 700 million people across the continent daily. However, these businesses lose US$100 billion annually due to expensive and unreliable supply, limited access to data to inform procurement decisions, wastage and theft, as well as limited access to capital to fund procurement.

Vendease’s platform, described as a series of stacks, is designed to mitigate losses and help food businesses thrive.

This is achieved by purchasing discounted products in bulk from suppliers and produces, stores them and makes deliveries to its customers through third-party logistics partners.

Its digital procurement engine makes it easier for restaurants in 8 cities across Nigeria and Ghana to buy food supplies at considerably cheaper rates than open market prices, with guaranteed 12-hour delivery.

Tunde Kara, CEO and Co-founder, Vendease said, “Our mission is to enable the efficient flow of food across the continent, from point of production to point of consumption.

“Everything we build at Vendease: financing, logistics, warehousing, inventory management, is tailored towards ensuring that food flows efficiently from that point of production to the point of consumption.

“It is more than just placing orders for supplies, we want to transform how the entire sector works and remove the bottlenecks that stunt the growth of restaurants and food businesses.”

The company is building the operating system that automates the flow of food from farm to restaurant, optimises business operations across the value chain through accurate data deployment, reduces wastage and drives profitability. 

Restaurant owners can also access working capital through Vendease’s Buy-Now-Pay-Later offering to maximise the growth opportunities available to them.

The platform claims to have moved approximately 400,000 metric tonnes of food for its over 2,000 customers and assisted them in saving about US$2 million in procurement costs and over 10,000 in person-hours over the last 12 months.

Vendease has also saved its customers almost US$500,000 in wastage costs due to overstocking, attributing this to fully utilizing businesses’ data and providing them with the necessary resources — particularly around inventory management — at every step of their journey, including delivery routes.

“Since businesses don’t have access to accurate data, they usually buy what they don’t need. We help them to solve that problem in two ways.

“One, because businesses know they can get anything on our platform in 12 hours, they don’t need to stock some of the things they would’ve stored before.

“Two, they can also track what they bought and know how much is left before they need to buy again,” highlighted Kara.

The company has seen 3x growth in the number of users on its platform and 5x growth in its revenue over the last 12 months.

Users have also accessed more than US$12 million worth of inventory via its embedded finance product.

The new funding will support the delivery of these services to more restaurants and food businesses across Africa, as well as the development of new solutions and services to drive growth across the food value chain.

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