Inventory-outs, unpredictable costs of farm produce and an absence of working capital are among the many challenges that plague small eating places and meals distributors in rising markets. These are a number of the pain-points that TopUp Mama (beforehand Kibanda TopUp) is working to alleviate since its launch in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, final 12 months, and it seems to be headed in the suitable path.
Njavwa Mutambo, who co-founded TopUp Mama with Emilie Blauwhoff (COO) and Andrew Kibe (CTO) in February 2021, advised TechCrunch that the startup has grown 10 occasions within the final one 12 months, and has over 3,000 retailers (1,000 energetic) utilizing its platform to make orders each month.
The B2B e-commerce startup, which has operations in Nigeria too, makes it handy for eating places and meals distributors to restock. The startup sources provides from distributors and farmers, and makes use of its fleet of automobiles to ship them to distributors and different end-of-chain customers. It additionally provides short-term credit score.
“The typical grownup residing in Nairobi can have no less than one meal outdoors their residence daily, however the eating places that assist this consumption have extraordinarily fragmented provide chains. The flexibility for them to get merchandise for his or her companies is extraordinarily constrained. These are the identical issues I noticed my mom, a restaurateur for greater than 30 years, take care of and what impressed this enterprise,” TopUp Mama CEO Mutambo advised TechCrunch.
“We work with particular person producers and distributors, handle the procurement course of after which combination the gadgets in our warehouses, which have chilly chain assist. We deal with the last-mile distribution as properly. Our buy-now-pay-later product permits our shoppers to order extra, and in a approach that grows their companies,” he mentioned.
$1.7 million seed funding
The startup has additionally over the previous couple of months developed instruments, together with a food delivery platform that helps eating places higher handle their operations and improve earnings by connecting them to customers. These developments observe a $1.7 million seed funding it closed in March, bringing the full quantity raised to $2.16 million.
Over the subsequent few years, TopUp Mama is seeking to be the go-to provider for 50,000 companies in Kenya and Nigeria, as it really works towards being the biggest grocery distributor in Africa focusing on eating places.
The startup enjoys the backing of various traders, together with Ventures Platform and JAM fund, which led the seed spherical with participation from Subsequent Billion Ventures, Future Africa, Jedar Capital, HoaQ Fund, First Verify Africa and San Fransisco-based DFS Labs.
“TopUp Mama empowers restaurant house owners via entry to inexpensive foodstuffs and highly effective information analytics to ship the scrumptious meals that hold us sustained and convey us collectively. Importantly, in addition they assist eating places develop their buyer base whereas enhancing effectivity,” mentioned Ventures Platform founder, Kola Aina.
The appliance of know-how in fixing provide chain challenges has been adopted the world over by startups reminiscent of Kenya-based Twiga Meals, which eliminates middlemen by immediately sourcing produce from farmers and promoting to clients or small distributors, primarily in cities.
Frubana, one other restaurant tech startup, which began operations in Colombia, is in the identical line of enterprise as TopUp Mama. Frubana helps eating places and small retailers to purchase produce immediately from farmers or producers, additionally slicing out the middlemen and additional bringing down the price of produce.
TopUp Mama say they goal to create a “world-class meals provide chain” that may contribute to the continent’s GDP, however first they need to seize the Kenyan and Nigerian markets.