Omnibiz, a Lagos-based B2B e-commerce platform, has raised a seed round of $3 million to expand into new markets.
The investment round was led by V&R Africa, Timon Capital and Tangerine Insurance. The round also included Lofty Inc., Musha Ventures, Sunu Capital, Launch Africa, Rising Tide Africa, and Seedstars. The company has now taken a total investment of $4 million.
The startup plans to use the fund to build new technology, expand its categories to include alcoholic beverages and OTC pharmaceutical products, expand into new markets and build more strategic partnerships.
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Omnibiz was founded in 2019 by Deepankar Rustagi, the Indian founder of VConnect, a marketplace and search engine for businesses and professionals that shut down in 2017.
After VConnect shutdown, Rustagi started consulting for FMCG brands. He realized there was friction in the supply chain that could be solved digitally. Inspired by the budding tech ecosystem and the abundance of digital innovations happening in different sectors, he launched Omnibiz to take out the friction.
Omnibiz was introduced into the Nigerian informal market as a B2B e-commerce platform that connects fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) manufacturers to retailers by digitizing all the moving parts of the supply chain.
What this means is that retailers don’t have to go to the manufacturing company to order or take stock, Omnibiz allows them to place orders at their convenience and have goods delivered to their doorstep at no cost. Retailers can connect and order from the Omnibiz mobile app, WhatsApp channel or through a phone call.
On Omnibiz, when a retailer orders a particular good, a request is sent to listed partner distributors who store goods on behalf of manufacturers and are traditionally known to help out with warehousing and transportation.
The distributors then deliver the order. In cases where distributors are only offering warehousing services to the manufacturer, they will pass on the signal to partnered logistics providers who will see to the fulfilment within 24hours.
“We work with manufacturers to provide visibility. Then buy goods from them and keep them in partner hubs that act as warehouses and distributors. Then, use the services of drivers that work with third-party logistics drivers who get paid on every delivery made,” Rustagi told TechCrunch.
What’s Omnibiz’s present traction and future projection?
Omnibiz helps retailers save working capital while continually connecting them with more than 20 brands, including Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Kellogg’s, Unilever, Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark.
The B2B e-commerce retail company is currently operating in four Nigerian cities across Nigeria — Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Kaduna. As per TechCrunch, the company will add two more cities, Ibadan and Kano, before the end of August. Then expand into an entirely new market across West African cities — Abidjan, Takoradi, Kumasi and Accra.
The startup is operating in a very competitive African e-commerce sector. Many B2B and B2C e-commerce solutions like Kenya’s Sokowatch and Twiga, Nigeria’s TradeDepot and Egypt’s MaxAB have built some muscle to capture market leadership.
“We think Omnibiz will be the role model for B2B retail in Africa and can scale well into other emerging markets,” Raj Kulasingam and Vishal Agarwal of V&R Africa, said in a statement. “We are excited and happy to be supporting Omnibiz in all ways beyond just providing capital.”
In the coming months, Omnibiz plans to expand both its product offering, manufacturer categories, and market presence across notable West African cities. But most importantly, brings on medium-scale manufacturers who find it difficult to get the last-mile delivery to reach customers and help them scale.
“We want to scale them so they can reach a large number of retailers. That’s something we are rolling out so we can onboard more and more manufacturers,” Rustagi concluded.