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Egyptian B2B e-commerce platform MaxAB nets over $6m

Featured image: MaxAB driver (Supplied)

Cairo-based B2B e-commerce marketplace MaxAB announced today that it has closed a $6.2-million seed round.

MaxAB said in an earlier statement that the round was co-led by Beco Capital, 4DX Ventures and Endure Capital with the participation of 500 Startups, Outlierz Ventures and other un-named local investors.

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MaxAB, which was founded last year by CEO Belal El-Megharbel and Mohamed Ben Halim, connects informal food and grocery retailers with suppliers via its Android app (pictured above is one of their drivers).

MaxAB was founded last year by Belal El-Megharbel and Mohamed Ben Halim

The startup said the investment will help it to reach half of Egypt’s population of 97 million people within the next two years.

El-Megharbel explained that the round, which was closed this week, will also allow MaxAB to accelerate its growth plans and develop new products and services across Egypt’s remote and under-served areas as well as throughout North Africa.

The startup said it is looking to expand to other North African countries within the next 12 months.

MaxAB employs a team of 270 people (it’s unsure how many of these are fulltime staff) and stocks over 600 products.

The startup claims on its website that it works with 9000 retailers and has completed 40 000 shipments since it launched operations.

In addition, the startup claims it has 9000 activated retailers on its platform and has recorded 50% month-on-month growth.

Tackling $45bn FMCG food retail market

MaxAB is trying to use tech to simplify what it says is a $45-billion fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) food retail market.

Brands that use MaxAB have access to real-time demand monitoring and business intelligence tools, which improve end-to-end supply chain control, and better forecasting.

Retailers in remote and under-served areas have access to a wide variety of products, the convenience of ordering stock online in addition to second day deliveries, as well as the added benefit of access to credit facilities.

El-Megharbel said MaxAB uses data and data analytics to understand purchasing and retail behaviours, as well as make the end-to-end process of brands “seamless and convenient”.

“This will enable FMCGs to make informed decisions about their purchasing, which will ultimately have a positive effect on their bottom line and catalyse one of the biggest markets in Egypt,” he added.

‘Redefining grocery market’

4DX Ventures co-founder and managing partner Peter Orth said the VC has been “consistently impressed” with how the MaxAB has executed and achieved significant traction in what he said was a very short period of time.

Orth added that 4DX Ventures believes that MaxAB’s B2B e-commerce model is the “right way” to serve the market and that the firm is “excited to partner with the startup to drive the next phase of growth.

Beco Capital managing partner Yousef Hammad said by leveraging technology, MaxAB is “redefining” the grocery supply chain in Egypt to fit the requirements of the micro retailers who he said make up 90% of the grocery market.

“The metrics they have recorded in such a short period are impressive, and we expect to continue to see double-digit growth as they scale,” added Hammad.

The deal could be the second biggest disclosed VC deal involving an Egyptian startup announced this year. In June, it emerged that Egyptian transport startup Swvl‘s had raised $42-million round (see this story).

Editor’s note (26 September 2019): The article has been updated to include details of MaxAB’s expansion plans.

Featured image: MaxAB driver (Supplied)

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