Ramania Tanzanian start-up focused on consumer goods (CPG) supply chains, plans to introduce new financial services as it expands its business in the East African country after raising $32 million in Series A debt financing.
The latest round, which follows a secret seed funding round last year, was led by Flexcap Ventures and serial entrepreneur Jared Schreiber.
The Y Combinator (W20) supported startup, co-founded in 2019 by Martin Kibet (COO) and brothers Iain Usiri (CEO) and Calvin Usiri (CTO), provides inventory management systems, purchasing and point of sale software to its network of micro distribution centers (MDCs), enabling them to improve the management of their inventory and operations.
These MDCs are critical to getting consumer goods to market, but most of them still use the unreliable manual processes that are tedious, error-prone, and provide no supply chain visibility.
“We deploy our app on a specialized point-of-sale device and printer, which warehouse sellers use to manage their inventory and operations. The data can also be accessed on computers and WhatsApp,” CEO Usiri told australiabusinessblog.com
Using Ramani’s technology, the MDCs can easily track their activities digitally and receive financing based on their company’s performance.
The startup recently received its loan license from the Bank of Tanzania and has already launched a 30-day stock financing product. There are plans to launch other products, including a 14-day revolving line of credit that will allow distributors in the network to borrow up to $500 interest-free.
“The consumer goods supply chain is one of the largest in Africa, but it is severely underutilized by today’s financial services companies. That’s why we build tailor-made financial services for the supply chain,” said Usiri.
“We are currently focused on leveraging financial services to make money because we offer our software for free,” said Usiri, adding that they see a $1 billion revenue opportunity on the credit side, across Tanzania, currently the only market , and in the neighboring countries of Kenya and Uganda.
Ramani also plans to expand the number of partner brands, which is essential for expanding its distribution network.
“Brands introduce us to the distributors they have and are a big part of what we do,” said Usiri
“By aggregating all real-time inventory from each of their resellers and unifying it into a single brand view, brands can better manage their networks and see downstream where their products are being sold. It also informs production and marketing plans.”
Usiri says Ramani has seen tremendous growth since launch with distributors selling $72 million through the platform last year, following a 68% month-over-month growth in gross trade value over the period. This year’s monthly GMV growth is 36%.
Ramani says it currently has 100 active MDCs using its platform, and they expect this number to grow exponentially as they double their operations in Tanzania and introduce new services.
“Our big vision is to create this cloud network of micro distribution centers across Africa as we have built software to support the multi-billion dollar consumer packaging supply chain in Africa,” said Usiri.