Cartona, a B2B commerce marketplace platform, has announced the successful close of its $12 million Series A funding round.
The round was led by Silicon Badia, the venture capital firm that invests in global technology entrepreneurs, together with the active participation of the SANAD Fund for MIPI, an impact investment fund dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs in the ‘Middle East and North Africa.
Arab Bank Accelerator and Sunny Side Ventures also participated, along with existing investors – Global Ventures and Kepple Ventures – who joined Cartona’s journey last year, doubling down on this round.
The proceeds will be used to turbocharge Cartona’s expansion across Egypt, to cover all governorates, grow its product, technology and services, and explore new sectors beyond FMCG.
Cartona adopts a vision of a cashless society, investing in integrated financing, payments and operational integration with all stakeholders. This provides retailers and suppliers with an integrated solution that drives financial inclusion enabling them to manage and grow their business more efficiently and reach end consumers with essential products at affordable prices.
The Cartona model is a light asset, it does not own a single product, warehouse or vehicle. This allows Cartona to execute its strategy of digitizing Egypt’s traditional, largely offline trade market, eliminating inefficiencies throughout the supply chain, in a highly capital-efficient manner, while enabling solutions for seamless financial services to an underserved network of hundreds of thousands of stores.
Mahmoud Talaat, CEO and co-founder of Cartona, commented: “We are delighted to complete our Series A fundraising. The endorsement of new investors and the re-participation of existing investors validates our strategy of a model of asset-light, capital-efficient business focused on enabling all industry stakeholders, increasing operational efficiency and supported by strong unit economics.”
He added: “The market context for Cartona is very attractive and we are just getting started. Egypt has hundreds of thousands of mom-and-pop shops that are central to our business model. We will continue to empower them through efficient and seamless solutions in their business and financial cycle with businesses and FMCG wholesalers, aligning with our mission to help people better manage and control their businesses.”
Cartona is growing rapidly and sustainably. It has scaled over a short period of time to currently process around one million transactions annually, with ample room for growth. Cartona has 60,000 users, works with 200 consumer companies, including Henkel, Unilever, Bel, Mondelez; and 1,500 distributors and wholesalers.
The Egyptian market opportunity for Cartona is compelling. The overall size of the retail market is $120 billion, and the food and beverage market is worth $70 billion. There are more than 400,000 stores and thousands of international and local brands across Egypt, and the sector is growing by 8% annually.
Namek T. Zu’bi, Founding Managing Partner of Silicon Badia, said: “We are delighted to partner with the Cartona team to help them continue to disrupt the $120 billion Egyptian retail market through their B2B technology platform and its integrated financial services offerings The market is hungry for these types of solutions and we believe Cartona’s asset-light approach will allow them to serve as many market participants as possible in a highly efficient manner “.
Daniela Beckmann, president of SANAD, commented: “We are incredibly proud of this transaction as it is SANAD’s first ESF II investment in Egypt, continuing the successful ESF I investments made in the country. By providing financing and market-tailored software, Cartona’s digital platform supports Egypt’s innovative SME retailers, which will greatly contribute to SANAD’s mission to pursue growth and job creation across the region.”
The latest Series A investment round comes less than a year after Cartona raised $4.5 million in a pre-Series A round led by Global Ventures.