Cartona announced today that it has raised $4.5 million in a pre-Series A round of funding to link merchants and manufacturers through an app.
It wants a big piece of the burgeoning e-commerce and retail pie, where several Egyptian entrepreneurs are competing, including Capiter, a year-old business we covered last week. Global Ventures, a Dubai-based venture capital firm, led the round, with Kepple Africa, T5 Capital, and angel investors also participating, according to the company.
Cartona, situated in Cairo, was created in August 2020 with the goal of assisting buyers in accessing items from sellers on a single platform, hence addressing the supply-chain and operational issues faced by companies in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) business.
Retailers are the buyers in this situation, whereas FMCG businesses, distributors, and wholesalers are the vendors. The fundamental issue that merchants in Egypt and the rest of Africa’s face is a lack of access to suppliers. There are also concerns about market price transparency, which is reliant on existing logistical capacities.
Unoptimized warehouses are a result of suppliers’ lack of data and inability to make data-driven decisions to boost profitability and promote growth.
In an interview with TechCrunch, CEO Mahmoud Talaat said, “The trade market is completely inefficient and it’s not good for the supplier or the manufacturers, and it’s definitely not good for retailers.” “As a result, we devised Cartona, which is essentially a fully light-asset model that connects manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers.”
Together with Mahmoud Abdel-Fattah, Talaat created the corporation. Talaat was the chief commercial officer of agriculture company Lamar Egypt before founding Speakol, a MENA-focused adtech platform with 60 million monthly users.
Cartona is a marketplace that is asset-light. Grocery stores can place orders through the platform from a carefully vetted network of sellers. The company claims that by doing so, it can provide real-time price comparisons and clarity on delivery schedules.
Additionally, using data and analytics, FMCGs and suppliers may improve their go-to-market operations. Cartona completes the picture by offering embedded finance and credit to merchants and suppliers.
All of these processes generate revenue for Cartona. It costs suppliers for running advertisements to merchants (because they compete for the latter’s attention), and it offers market information on buyer behavior, pricing competitiveness, and market share.