Social commerce is a fast-growing sector, particularly on the African continent. Over 384 million Africans use social media, and there are over 281 million online shoppers on the continent. The market is predicted to grow by 70.3% annually to reach US$8 billion in 2022 and record a compound annual growth rate of 55.2% between 2022–2028, according to the Q1 2022 Social Commerce Survey.
One startup taking advantage of the social commerce boom is Nigerian social commerce company, Bumpa. Founded in 2021 by Kelvin Umechukwu and Adetunji Opayele, Bumpa was created after the duo worked together on HostCabal, a web hosting company.
As internet usage spreads across the continent, the allure of social commerce grows, particularly for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across Africa. Mediums like Facebook, Whatsapp, and Instagram help these small businesses attract customers conveniently and with minimal overhead costs. For the 44 million SMEs scattered across Africa, these social media platforms have changed the way they interact with customers.
Umechukwu and Opayele got a keen understanding of the social commerce space in Africa while they were creating custom e-commerce websites for entrepreneurs with HostCabal, and with the advent of the lockdown and the consequent slowdown of business for SMEs across the globe, demand for their product grew rapidly. That demand spurred them to build a company.
That company—Bumpa—has now raised a $4 million seed round led by Base10 Partners, with participation from Plug & Play Ventures, SHL Capital, Magic Fund, Jedar Capital, DFS Labs, FirstCheck Africa Angel Program, E62 Ventures, Club 14 and Fast Forward Ventures.
Umechukwu said that for this seed round, Bumpa chose investors who were interested in e-commerce and retail automation in Africa.
On a call with TechCabal, Kelvin Umechukwu, co-founder and CEO of Bumpa, said that Bumpa has over 50,000 small businesses on its platform. Umechukwu also shared that these businesses have gone on to record over 200,000 orders and trade a gross merchandise value of $20 million. He added that his proudest achievement with Bumpa came when a user crossed 10,000 orders on Bumpa and grew from 15 orders weekly to 200 orders weekly.
Bumpa initially started out by helping businesses manage inventory, engage their customers, and record sales. But now, they want to go a step further and help these small businesses connect everything, according to Umechukwu. “With Bumpa, we’re helping business owners organise all the commerce that’s happening on their social media. They can see their top customers. They can see how much they’re making on each of these social media platforms, like Instagram. They can collect all the records, and they can sell faster through direct messaging (DMs) and request for payments because we brought all of the commerce tools right there for them in their DMS while chatting with a customer.” Bumpa currently estimates that it can help its users save 25 hours each week, Umechukwu added.
Bumpa uses a commission and subscription business model. The startup charges commissions on each online transaction and released a subscription product after integrating with Meta in August. Users can still access Bumpa for free, but they will be limited to only 25 products and 50 orders per month.
The social commerce startup space in Nigeria has seen a lot of activity in recent times, with fintechs like Paystack and Flutterwave launching storefronts for small businesses, and startups like Catlog and Simpu all providing solutions for SMEs that want to sell their products online. Bumpa’s competitive advantage, according to Umechukwu, stems from its emphasis on retail automation and optimization of data and inventory for its clients. He added that Bumpa’s integration with Meta in August and an upcoming integration with Google Business in November will also help separate Bumpa from the rest.
Speaking on the raise, Luci Fonseca, Principal at Base10 Partners, said, “Bumpa is building a mission that we love and were excited to get behind, enabling e-commerce and reducing friction for millions of SMBs. The more we spent time with Kelvin and Teejay, the more we saw that they are very special founders and have a powerful mission to build the defining e-commerce platform in Nigeria and across Africa.”
George Damouny, Partner at Plug and Play Ventures, added, “With their intuitive mobile-first user experience, Bumpa is leapfrogging how small merchants transact and provide a meaningful experience to customers. Kelvin and Teejay have built a sticky product and we are excited to back the team on their mission to reinvent commerce for merchants across Africa.”