Founded in August 2020, Cartona is a B2B e-commerce marketplace focusing on solving supply chain and operational challenges for the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry by digitising the traditional, predominantly offline, trade market.
The startup offers an asset-light marketplace that enables grocery retailers to order their store needs digitally from a curated network of sellers. It currently processes around one million transactions annually, has 60,000 users, and works with 200 FMCG companies, including blue-chip names like Henkel, Unilever, Bel, and Mondelez.
Its US$12 million Series A round, which comes after a US$4.5 million pre-Series A was banked in September of last year, was led by Silicon Badia, a venture capital firm investing in global technology entrepreneurs, and also featured the SANAD Fund for MSME, Arab Bank Accelerator and Sunny Side Ventures. Existing investors Global Ventures and Kepple Africa Ventures also doubled down.
Proceeds will be used to turbo-charge Cartona’s expansion across Egypt, where it plans to cover all governorates, as well as grow its product, technology, and services – and explore new verticals beyond FMCG.
Cartona embraces a cashless society vision, investing in embedded finance, payments, and operational integration with all stakeholders. This provides retailers and suppliers with an integrated solution boosting financial inclusion enabling them to run and grow their business more efficiently, and reach end-consumers with essential products at affordable prices.
Cartona’s model is asset-light, not owning a single product or warehouse or vehicle. This allows Cartona to execute its strategy of digitising Egypt’s traditional, largely offline trade market by eliminating inefficiencies across the supply chain – in a very capital-efficient way – while enabling seamless financial services’ solutions to an underserved network of hundreds of thousands of shops.
“We are delighted to complete our Series A fundraise. The endorsement of new investors, and re-participation of existing investors, validates our strategy of a capital-efficient, asset light business model focused on enabling all stakeholders in the industry, boosting operational efficiency and underpinned by strong unit economics,” said Mahmoud Talaat, CEO and co-founder of Cartona.
“The market context for Cartona is hugely attractive, and we are just getting started. Egypt has hundreds of thousands of mom-and-pop stores who are core to our business model. We will continue empowering them via efficient and seamless solutions in their trade and financial cycle with FMCG companies and wholesalers, aligning with our mission to help people better manage and control their businesses.”
Namek T. Zu’bi, founding managing partner at Silicon Badia, said he was thrilled to partner Cartona to help it continue to disrupt the US$120 billion Egyptian retail market.
“The market is hungry for these type of solutions and we believe Cartona’s asset-light approach will allow them to serve as many marketplace participants as possible in a highly efficient manner,” he said.