Egypt-based B2B platform, Cartona, has successfully raised $4.5m in a pre-Series A round led by Global Ventures, with the participation of Kepple Africa Ventures, T5 Ventures, and a group of key angel investors.
Founded in August 2020, Cartona launched its B2B e-commerce marketplace focusing on solving the supply-chain and operational challenges for the fast-moving consumer goods industry (FMCG) by digitizing the traditional, predominantly offline, and trade market in Egypt. The company offers an asset-light marketplace that enables grocery retailers to order their needs digitally from a curated network of sellers.
E-commerce start-ups in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have observed steady growth this year. Driven by an 8% year-over-year (y-o-y) increase in number of deals closed in MENA, and a solid 78% y-o-y growth in amount of funding, the e-commerce industry has been the second-most active and third-most funded industry in MENA over 2021 YTD.
Cartona is designed to eliminate inefficiencies across the value chain, by providing enhanced visibility through real-time price comparisons and ETAs, while allowing FMCGs and suppliers to optimize their go-to-market execution via data and analytics.
The company was co-founded by Mahmoud Talaat, the former Chief Commercial Officer of Lamar Egypt, who helped build and scale the company into a leading position with a 20% market share.
Mahmoud, who also founded Speakol, highlighted Cartona’s vision and untapped potential, “Small and medium retailers deserve the opportunity to operate their businesses efficiently while delivering growth simultaneously. To do so, they need access to credit, inventory, and payment services. We are dedicated to empowering the B2B ecosystem through technology and supply chain innovation. Cartona is committed to building a strong network of digitally connected retailers that have better control over their businesses through running a seamless daily operation.”
Since its launch, Cartona has aggregated over 30K users in Cairo and Alexandria alone. It has processed over 400K delivered orders with an annualized gross merchandise value of $63M+. Cartona works with 100 FMCG companies, 1,000 distributors, and wholesalers, offering consumers over 10,000 products listed on its platform including dry, fresh, and frozen food.
Mahmoud Abdel-Fattah, Co-founder and CTO of Cartona, stated, “It is time to capitalize on technology beyond warehouses and trucks. Data and technology will transform traditional retail to a digitally-native one, which in return will drastically improve the supply chain efficiency.”
The Egypt-based team plans to utilize its newly acquired funds to further develop its tech stack, launch new products, and expand geographically across Egypt.
Basil Moftah, General Partner at Global Ventures, concluded, “We are really excited to lead this investment round in Cartona. The trade market is one of the most sophisticated, yet is characterized by multiple critical inefficiencies across the value chain. Cartona’s asset-light approach tackles those inefficiencies by optimizing the trade process in unique ways and does so with minimal capital spent. The company has already demonstrated consistently stellar growth over the past year. We are thrilled to partner with the company’s solid, experienced founding team on their third entrepreneurial journey.”