Ramani, a Tanzanian startup focused on the consumer packaged goods (CPG) supply chain, has raised $32 million in Series A debt equity funding in the East African country and plans to introduce new financial services as it expands its operations.
Following undisclosed seed funding last year, the latest round was led by Flexcap Ventures and serial entrepreneur Jared Schreiber, with debt raised from undisclosed investors.
The Y Combinator (W20)-backed startup, founded in 2019 by Martin Kibet (COO) and brothers Iain Usiri (CEO) and Calvin Usiri (CTO), provides inventory management systems, purchasing and sales software to the network. It enables Micro Distribution Centers (MDCs) to improve their inventory and operations management.
These MDCs are critical to ensuring that consumer goods reach the market, but most still use unreliable manual processes that are laborious, error-prone and fail to provide supply chain visibility.
“We deploy our application on a dedicated point-of-sale platform and printer, which salespeople use in the warehouse to manage their inventory and operations. The data is also accessible on computers and WhatsApp,” CEO Usiri told TechCrunch.
Using Ramani’s technology, MDCs can easily track their operations digitally and receive financial support based on the performance of their businesses.
The startup recently received its loan license from the Bank of Tanzania and has already introduced a 30-day property finance product to the market. It plans to launch other products, including a 14-day revolving line of credit that allows distributors in its network to borrow up to $500 interest-free.
“The consumer packaged goods supply chain is one of the largest in Africa, but it is underserved by existing financial service providers. That is why we are building financial services for the supply chain,” said Usiri.
As we offer our software for free, we are focused on leveraging financial services to generate revenue, Usiri said. On the lender side, Tanzania is currently its only market and neighboring countries have an income opportunity of $1 billion. Countries Kenya and Uganda.
Ramani plans to increase the number of partner brands which will be key to the expansion of the distributor network.
“They introduce us to distributors who have brands, and they’re a big part of what we do,” Usairi said.
“By bringing together real-time inventory from each of their resellers and integrating it into a single-brand view, brands can better manage their networks and see the bottom line where their products are sold. It also informs product and marketing plans.”
Usiri said that since its launch, Ramani has seen significant growth with distributors selling $72 million through the platform last year, following a 68% month-on-month gross merchandise value growth. This year’s month-on-month GMV growth is at 36 percent.
Ramani says they currently have 100 active MDCs using the platform, and expect that number to grow exponentially as they double their operations in Tanzania and introduce new services.
“Our big vision is to create these micro-distribution centers across Africa as we build software to support Africa’s trillion-dollar consumer packaged goods supply chain,” Usiri said.