Fast-growing retail distribution platform in Africa joins the leading global entrepreneur support organization
Lagos, May 20 — Endeavor Nigeria has welcomed three new entrepreneurs into its global network. Onyekachi Izukanne, Michael Ukpong, and Ruke Awaritefe, the co-founders of TradeDepot, were selected as Endeavor Entrepreneurs on May 18, 2021, at the 15th Virtual International Selection Panel (v-ISP #15). TradeDepot is a B2B eCommerce platform that allows retailers to order inventory through multiple channels (Mobile, USSD, and WhatsApp) and have it delivered the next day.
With a mission to build strong entrepreneurship ecosystems in high-growth markets including Africa, Latin America, Asia, Europe & North America, Endeavor selects, mentors and accelerates the best high-impact entrepreneurs behind some of the world’s most exciting scale-up companies, supporting them to scale their companies as well as drive economic growth and job creation. Along with Onyekachi Izukanne, Michael Ukpong and Ruke Awaritefe, Endeavor Nigeria supports 19 entrepreneurs who lead 11 companies including Flutterwave, Carbon, Autochek, 54gene, Paga, Migo, Daystar Power, HealthPlus, Kobo360 and FilmHouse Group.
“We’re excited to welcome TradeDepot into Endeavor’s network. The Endeavor network includes some of the world’s most exciting scale-up entrepreneurs and most experienced mentors and investors. TradeDepot, a Factory-to-Retail distribution platform for Consumer Goods companies, is solving an important problem by organizing and digitizing an industry that affects the lives of millions of Nigerians. We’re excited to support Onyekachi, Michael and Ruke with their mission of connecting retailers to manufacturers with mentorship and guidance as they continue to grow as leaders and scale TradeDepot.”, said Tosin Faniro-Dada, the Managing Director & CEO of Endeavor in Nigeria.
Endeavor Entrepreneur candidates go through a rigorous selection process which culminates in an International Selection Panel (ISP) where candidates are vetted by trusted mentors, drawn from Endeavor’s extensive network of over 4,000 mentors across the world. As part of the process, TradeDepot was presented at the 15th v-ISP and was successfully selected in a unanimous decision by the panelists as part of a cohort of 13 entrepreneurs from 9 markets.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Kachi, Michael, and Ruke to the Endeavor Entrepreneur network! TradeDepot is solving a critical problem in the retail sector across Africa through its B2B e-commerce platform. The company has the potential to scale regionally and globally and to join the tech powerhouses catapulting Nigeria’s entrepreneurial ecosystem into the world’s view. The founders have demonstrated deep knowledge of the market; they also have great chemistry and an amazing co-founder relationship, having built several companies together over 20 years. We’re excited to support them through their scale-up journey!” said Linda Rottenberg, the CEO, and Co-founder of Endeavor.
Since launching in 2016, TradeDepot has surpassed several milestones, raising a $3 million Series A in 2018 and a $10 million pre-Series B in 2020. “Michael, Onyekachi and I see joining the Endeavor Network as a great opportunity to connect with a curated group of very talented founders and mentors in various countries across the world, and look forward to leveraging these connections as we continue to execute on our mission”, said Ruke Awaritefe, the CBO and Co-founder of TradeDepot.
Africa’s $1 trillion retail market is largely informal and offline, with over 90% of all sales happening in millions of small “mom and pop” stores. TradeDepot’s mission is to consolidate this fragmented informal
retail supply chain, connect the world’s top consumer goods manufacturers to micro retailers on the streets of Africa’s cities and support the informal retail sector with inventory financing to scale and grow. Today, TradeDepot, through its ShopTopUp platform, digitally and seamlessly plugs the gap in informal retail by providing flexible and affordable loans to its retailers to buy more goods at the best prices, scale their businesses and generate more revenue.
Established in 1997, Endeavor is a mission-driven, global organization leading the high-impact entrepreneurship movement. Endeavor was founded on the belief that job creation, innovation, and overall prosperity flourish where there is robust support for high-impact entrepreneurs. To date, Endeavor has screened more than 60,000 individuals and selected more than 2,000 founders leading over 1,200 scale-up companies. With support from Endeavor’s worldwide mentor network, Endeavor Entrepreneurs have created over 3 million jobs, generate more than $20 billion in revenue each year, and inspire future generations to innovate and take risks, building strong entrepreneurship ecosystems in growth markets. Headquartered in New York City, Endeavor currently operates in nearly 40 growth markets throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America.
Endeavor launched its Nigeria office in 2018 to select and support the best founders of companies at the scale-up and growth stage, who recognise a responsibility to pay it forward and multiply their impact in Nigeria’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. In Nigeria, we aim to select 4-6 companies a year and today there are 19 Endeavor Entrepreneurs who are leading 11 companies in the portfolio.
Learn more about Endeavor in Nigeria: www.endeavornigeria.org
Learn about Endeavor’s global network: www.endeavor.org
TradeDepot is the leading B2B eCommerce and Inventory Finance platform in Africa with a mission to consolidate fragmented retail supply chains on the continent and connect the world’s top consumer goods manufacturers to retailers on the streets of Africa’s cities. Today, TradeDepot provides access to inventory and financing to over 60,000 micro retailers through its digital platform.
TradeDepot is committed to building the future of distribution in Africa, making food and supplies accessible and affordable for even the most remote consumers on the continent, and improving livelihoods for millions of retail store owners.
For more about TradeDepot: www.tradedepot.co
About the Founders
Onyekachi Izukanne is Co-founder & CEO of TradeDepot. He is a serial entrepreneur with two decades of experience innovating solutions to address real-world business problems. Onyekachi has a deep understanding of the complexities of the African business environment, the key challenges SMEs face and the role the digital economy plays. He has extensive experience in business growth, the startup industry and financial technology, and leads strategy and growth at the company.
Ruke Awaritefe is Co-founder and Chief Business Officer at TradeDepot. Ruke has over 20 years of finance and management consulting experience – specialising in Consumer Products, Energy and Financial Services. Ruke had previously led strategic transformation projects for various CPG companies in various countries on the continent, including the UAC Group SAP Transformation Project, which was an award winner at the SAP Africa Quality Awards. He leads the company’s commercial operations, directly impacting the lives of thousands of retailer store owners on the African continent.
Michael Ukpong is Co-founder & CTO at TradeDepot. He has over 20 years of experience in technology and consulting, specializing in unlocking growth opportunities for key players in Consumer Goods, Logistics and Financial Services by building the right technology to help beat competition and scale significantly. Michael leads the company’s robust technology team in building out an ambitious and exciting technology roadmap which is a clear differentiator across the consumer goods landscape.