Ramani, a Tanzanian startup building the financial infrastructure for Africa’s supply chain, has raised $32 million in a Series A debt-equity round to introduce new financial services as it expands its operations in the East African country.

The latest round, which follows an undisclosed seed funding round last year, was led by Flexcap Ventures, and serial entrepreneur Jared Schreiber, while debt was raised from undisclosed investors.

Co-founded in 2019 by Martin Kibet (COO), Iain Usiri (CEO) and Calvin Usiri (CTO), the Y Combinator (W20) backed startup provides inventory management systems, procurement and point-of-sale software to its network of micro-distribution centres (MDCs), enabling them to enhance the management of their inventory and operations.

The startup recently received its lending license from the Bank of Tanzania and has already introduced a 30-day inventory financing product in the market. Plans are underway to launch other products including a 14-day revolving line of credit allowing distributors in its network to borrow up to $500 interest-free.

“The consumer-packaged goods supply chain is one of the biggest in Africa, but it is grossly underserved by the current financial service providers. That is why we are building bespoke financial services for the supply chain,” said Usiri.

“We are currently focused on leveraging financial services to monetize because we provide our software for free,” Usiri said, adding that they see a $1 billion revenue opportunity on the lending side, across Tanzania, its only market currently, and in neighbouring countries Kenya and Uganda.

“By stitching together all the real-time inventory of each of their resellers and unifying it into a single-brand-view, brands can manage their networks better and they can see downstream where their products are being sold. It informs production and marketing plans too.”

Usiri says since launch, Ramani has experienced immense growth as the value of goods sold through the platform hit $72 million last year, following a 68% month-over-month growth in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) during the period. This year’s month-over-month GMV growth is at 36%.

Ramani says it currently has 100 active MDCs using its platform, and they expect this number to grow exponentially as they double down their operations in Tanzania and introduce new services.

“Our big vision is to create this cloud network of micro-distribution centers all across Africa as we have built software to help support Africa’s trillion-dollar consumer-packaged-goods supply chain,” said Usiri.

Andrew Vigneault, co-founder and general partner of Flexcap Ventures, said, “The CPG industry in Africa is being systematically transformed by Ramani’s huge ambition for a vastly improved and more efficient supply chain. It has been a pleasure to witness Ramani’s success and traction so far and we are certain the company will continue to achieve market-leading growth, fueled by a strong leadership team with exceptional technical expertise.” 

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