KENYA – Cartnshop, a Kenyan startup that helps African small businesses build up internet stores quickly and affordably, has raised US$400,000 in funding as it prepares to launch next month and help with commercialization.
Cartnshop is an end-to-end e-store enablement engine that lets any retail or corporate organization to acquire new customers, and it was founded in 2018.
Payment gateways, shipping and fulfillment centers, marketing and marketplace cross-listings, and business management capabilities are all part of the startup’s B2B and B2C channels.
“The Cartnshop ecosystem pulls stakeholders into the channels, including manufacturers, suppliers and distributors, service providers, and e-commerce enablers, providing a complete model of B2B2C,” stated Joe Wambugu, creator and CEO.
In late 2019, the startup launched engine one and onboarded 50 merchants. It released engine two with over 300 merchants after demonstrating the concept and receiving feedback.
In 2020, it embarked on a market proof of concept with Safaricom and EABL, gaining enough market feedback to develop engine three, which is currently ready to go live and can accommodate over one million merchants.
The rollout will be sponsored by a US$400,000 investment from a group of business angels this month. Cartnshop has made its platform available to some retailers in Botswana and Tanzania, but Wambugu says Kenya is the company’s major emphasis.
Glovo launches pitch competition
Meanwhile, on-demand delivery platform Glovo has launched a pitch competition targeting early-stage tech startups in Kenya that are delivering value to SMEs.
The competition will be organized in partnership with Esade Business School, Ashoka Africa and Boston Consulting Group (BCG)
Glovo says the aim of the startup competition is to help accelerate the progress and success of SME focused startups that are improving the operating and business environment and efficiency levels and ultimately increasing the chances of success for those SMEs.
The competition is open to startups that have not raised more than $20,000 in funding. It will be made up of 2 stages. The first stage will be through an online submission while the second stage will be a physical event where the top eight shortlisted businesses get to pitch their businesses in person to a panel of judges.
The top eight selected projects from the first phase will be invited to compete for the final prizes in front of a jury of experts including the co-Founder of Glovo, the Managing Director of BCG Kenya, and other tech leaders. The live pitch will be held on 29th April 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Invited to the panel of judges would be representatives from the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development and Information Communications, and Technology in Kenya.