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Omnibiz plans to raise more funds this year to further develop its software and expand into about five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Picture: BLOOMBERG
Omnibiz plans to raise more funds this year to further develop its software and expand into about five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Picture: BLOOMBERG

Nigeria’s biggest consumer-goods companies have signed an agreement with e-commerce platform Omnibiz to boost sales and curb costs after Covid-19 lockdowns and smartphone use triggered a boom in online trade.

Omnibiz, a Lagos-based start-up, has signed up more than 12 firms operating in the country — including Coca-Cola, Kellogg, Kimberly-Clark, Nigerian Breweries, AB InBev, Indomie, Arla and Pepsi’s 7up Bottling Company. They will use the start-up’s platform, which helps firms track sales from distributors to retailers. 

Transactions on the firm’s Mplify product have hit $360m, Omnibiz CEO Deepankar Rustagi said in an interview in Lagos. “The target is to grow it to $600m by next year,” he said.

The opportunity for Omnibiz is to digitise the $1.2bn annual local revenue of its new clients. That is about 3% of Nigeria’s total fresh produce and packaged foods market, which is worth about $41bn, according to data from KPMG. 

Last year, Omnibiz raised $3m in seed funding. The company plans to raise about $12m more this year to further develop its software and expand into about five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the CEO.

In Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy and most populous nation, products are typically distributed physically, passing through informal or traditional channels such as warehouses, markets, malls and kiosks. The coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns caused a shift not only in distribution but in how people worked, learnt and more importantly shopped: going online. 

E-commerce platform Jumia Technologies, which has Nigeria as its biggest market, reported a 40% increase in total orders and 29% jump in active users in the 12 months to December across Africa. The pandemic also opened an opportunity for new digital payment apps such as Kippa to enter the consumer digital payment space.

“The manufacturers are making more revenue because they are able to see the movement of their goods and can increase the supply at a lower cost,” said Rustagi. “We are in the business of making retail simple.” 

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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