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World Bank’s IFC leads $25m funding round for Egypt’s e-commerce platform

Brimore, a Cairo-based social e-commerce platform connecting suppliers to community sellers, closed its Series A round of $25 million, led by the the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) and early-stage investment venture capital company Endure Capital.

The funds will be used to grow the company’s products and suppliers, double the number of employees and boost the social commerce app’s reach throughout Africa, Brimore said in a statement on Monday.

The latest round also saw the participation of Egyptian FinTech Fawry, FinTech investor Flourish, Endeavor Catalyst Fund and existing Brimore investors including Egyptian tech VC company Algebra Ventures, Disruptech, Khawarizmi Ventures and Vision Ventures.

“In the past three years, we’ve focused on building a smart and reliable infrastructure that enables the masses to do their commerce businesses, wherever they are and whatever they have,” said Mohamed Abdulaziz, Brimore’s chief executive and co-founder.

“We’ll be using the fresh funds to scale our infrastructure, enabling many more people to continue their journey of 50x growth by 2023, and opening this gate of hope and opportunity to other people in African markets.”

Brimore has a network of 75,000 active sellers and 300 suppliers, offering more than 8,000 products in categories that include household goods, personal care, fashion, electronics, furniture and food and beverages.

The start-up aims to operate in three countries and strengthen its physical logistics capabilities by 2023, the statement added. The company is considering expanding to Kenya and Morocco in 2022, a spokesperson said in an earlier interview.

Brimore – which merges the words “bring” and “more” – is tapping into a trillion dollar industry globally that uses social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to enable e-commerce.

Social commerce sales are expected to touch $1.2 trillion globally by 2025, from $492 billion in 2021, according to Accenture. With over 1.25 million online users, the social e-commerce market in Egypt alone is estimated to be worth $14.8bn by 2024, according to TechCrunch.

Brimore raised $3.5m in a pre-series A round in May 2020, after securing $800,000 in a seed round in April 2019.

Launched in 2017, Brimore built a network of about 75,000 resellers to cover 27 cities within Egypt, with a focus on rural and remote areas.

Brimore enables budding entrepreneurs to leverage its infrastructure and proprietary technology to boost their market presence. The start-up enables its sellers, who are mostly women, to unlock an alternative income and become local business leaders through online and offline sales channels.

“Our ambition is to create a global model where market access is democratised through the power of people. Our promise is that we will use technology, operations and creative financing models to make it true,” Ahmed Sheikha, chief business and investment officer and co-founder at Brimore, said.

The IFC, a global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries, disclosed in August last year that it was considering an equity investment of $5m in Brimore, primarily to expand the company’s operations.

Brimore’s sellers are 92% women and its consumers are mainly in rural areas. Photo: Brimore
Brimore’s sellers are 92% women and its consumers are mainly in rural areas. Photo: Brimore
“This is our largest direct investment in social commerce so far,” said Walid Labadi, IFC’s country manager for Egypt. “IFC’s co-lead investment in Brimore aims to help the platform continue to democratise access to e-commerce, increase economic opportunities for women and support the development of the local manufacturing sector in the country.”

The start-up began with five employees and has since grown to about 700. Its network of sellers is 92 per cent women, with more than 70 per cent of business coming from rural areas outside Cairo and Alexandria.

“Every decade, comes a company that fuses technology, operations excellence and human capital to unlock unprecedented impact and value,” Tarek Fahim, managing partner at Endure Capital, said.

FinTech Fawry acquired a minority stake in Brimore at a value of 15.7m Egyptian pounds ($1m) in September last year. The acquisition allows Fawry to introduce its network of 230,000 merchants to Brimore’s distribution platform, while Brimore’s clients will be able to access Fawry’s digital payments and financial services.

Original story on MENA

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