Nigerian e-commerce infrastructure provider, SlimTrader just raised $1 million from Interswitch. The investment came from Interswitch’s $10 million ePayment Growth Fund intended to enable innovation within the African payments sector.
The funding, according a media release from SlimTrader will allow it expand its ecommerce platform, MoBiashara, into hospitality. MoBiashara allows businesses digitise their inventory. In this case, hotels. Just like it did with airlines, Slimtrader appears to be looking to install itself as the inventory management system of choice for hotels on the continent.
In addition to inventory management, Slimtrader is generating bookings for its partner hotels via an online bookings site dubbed slimtrader.travel, effectively pitting it against the likes of Hotels.ng and Jovago. Another distribution tactic that they are employing is aggregating deals and discounts on hotel bookings via another MoBiashara spin-off platform called Hotelnownow.com
The fresh cash injection is expected to help Slimtrader consolidate its efforts.
“With the funds from Interswitch, SlimTrader will now be able to ramp up operations and help more hotels expand their market reach,” SlimTrader CEO, Femi Akinde says.
This is not Interswitch’s first investment play from its $10 million growth fund. In February 2015, it pitched in $850, 000 in ACE’s $2.6 million round. It seem Interswitch is skewed towards ecommerce portfolios in its investment outlook.
“SlimTrader is a dynamic and ambitious business dedicated to growing Africa’s ecommerce sector. This makes them an ideal candidate for investment from the Interswitch ePayment Growth Fund,” says Mitchell Elegbe, Founder and Group Managing Director of Interswitch
Interswitch has been participating more in Nigeria’s startup scene in the past two years. In 2014, it invested in MEST’s entrepreneurial residence programme, allowing Nigerian entrepreneurs to participate in the programme for the first time.