Years in the past, People spent most of their disposable revenue on meals however constant funding in retail infrastructure has modified that. Now, they solely spend 6% of their family revenue on meals and drinks.
Africa nonetheless battles with this and it isn’t exhausting to see why. The continent’s retail markets are extremely fragmented and principally made up of small and casual retailers and intermediaries, which is why a ton of tomatoes that prices round $100 within the U.S., as an example, prices about $400 in Kenya.
Since 2014, Twiga Meals has been utilizing know-how to construct provide chains in meals and retail distribution on the continent, beginning with Kenya. Immediately, the seven-year-old firm is saying a $50 million Sequence C spherical to scale its efforts within the East African nation and different neighbouring international locations.
This funding comes after the corporate’s $30 million Sequence B spherical — $23.75 million fairness and $6.25 million debt — in 2019. Per Crunchbase, Twiga has raised over $100 million in each debt and fairness financing rounds.
For many of Twiga’s operational historical past, it linked distributors and retailers with farmers by way of an app to entry completely different agricultural produce.
However in 2019, the corporate started to attach FMCGs and producers with retailers in Kenya in a bid to extend income, thereby dipping its fingers into an area with regional gamers corresponding to Sokowatch and MarketForce.
“We see ourselves as constructing a one-stop-shop for the casual retailer and all their wants. In order that’s what we’re evolving into as a enterprise,” CEO Peter Njonjo mentioned to FiratNews in an interview.
The B2B e-commerce meals distribution platform claims that over 100,000 prospects use its providers throughout Kenya whereas delivering greater than 600 metric tons of product to 10,000+ retailers every day.
Njonjo affirms that smallholder farmers stay on the core of Twiga’s operations. However having labored with them at scale and distributing recent produce over time, the Kenyan firm has recognized some challenges, particularly within the traceability of some produce like tomatoes.
Twiga can successfully monitor meals and produce from processing to distribution. Nonetheless, there’s sure to be some lapses within the manufacturing finish of issues the place as an example, farmers can apply a number of pesticides to crops with out Twiga’s data, thereby creating meals security issues for the top shopper.
To keep away from conditions like this sooner or later, Twiga plans to personally deal with the worth chains of some produce the place traceability might be a problem.
“For us, it’s selecting worth chains the place you’ll be able to handle the traceability situation whereas there are some worth chains that shall be tougher to handle,” the CEO mentioned, “The important thing factor is that we now have a extra blended strategy. It’s not nearly working with small farmers; we nonetheless work with them however on some worth chains. However we’re having massive business farms built-in into our provide chain.”
Njonjo says Twiga is investing in a proof of idea to develop another means of manufacturing meals on the continent and canopy each ends of traceability and mass scale.
Based on the corporate, the proof of idea goals to cut back the value customers pay for common home plant-based meals merchandise by over 30%.
As soon as the corporate manages to set it up, Njonjo says the mannequin is perhaps spun off as a separate enterprise to keep up a extra asset-light strategy to growth.
The funding shall be used to check the idea out. Twiga additionally plans to make use of a part of the funding to roll out low-cost manufactured meals and non-food merchandise below its model earlier than the top of the yr.
A lot of the buyers from Twiga’s Sequence B spherical in 2019 took half on this current fundraise. This time, nevertheless, Paris- and Nairobi-based household workplace and personal fairness agency Creadev led the Sequence C spherical.
Africa-focused corporations TLcom, IFC Ventures, DOB Fairness, and Goldman Sachs’ spinoff Juven, wrote follow-on checks too. First-time buyers OP Finnfund World and Endeavor Catalyst Fund participated as nicely.
“We’re deeply satisfied in Twiga’s potential to revolutionize casual retail throughout Sub-Saharan Africa,” mentioned Pierre Fauvet, Africa director at Creadev, in an announcement.
“Tapping right into a $77 billion city market on the continent, Twiga has gained vital traction since inception, leveraging on know-how to optimize the meals provide chain in African cities and always innovating to raised deal with logistics, business, social and environmental challenges.”
The spherical additionally offered a consolidation of Twiga’s cap desk the place earlier buyers obtained some liquidity by way of a $30 million secondary sale.
When CEO Peter Njonjo spoke with FiratNews in an interview in 2019, Twiga was focusing on a pan-African growth by Q3 2020. However the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns stalled these plans, but Twiga made good use of the state of affairs and quadrupled its revenues inside that point — from April final yr to August 2021.
Two years on, the corporate, which now has greater than 1,000 staff, is able to make these strikes and is increasing to different East African markets, Uganda and Tanzania, earlier than the top of the yr.
It’s at the moment working with growth finance companions to determine the right way to scale its proof of idea the place it is going to act as an off-taker to promote horticultural crops from February 2022 throughout East Africa.
“We’ve been pretty profitable in Kenya. So, we wish to consolidate our dominant place, filter our proof of idea and broaden to the neighbouring international locations,” remarked Njonjo, who based the corporate with ex-CEO Grante Brooke.
Hitting these targets would set Twiga up for an even bigger fundraise someday subsequent yr, in line with Njonjo. After that, Twiga will take a look at different markets — Cote d’Ivoire, DRC Congo, Ghana and Nigeria. Njonjo provides that Twiga’s growth into Nigeria would possibly contain some M&A motion.