BY TOM JACKSON
Kenyan retail-tech startup Powered by People has raised US$1.5 million in seed funding to continue its growth in accelerating the revolution of boutique manufacturing.
Powered by People is a mobile-first, distributed manufacturing system offering online tools, financing solutions, and a B2B marketplace to the small and mid-sized enterprises in the creative manufacturing and handmade sector.
The startup connects handmade and natural cosmetic producers across Africa, Asia and Latin America via a wholesale platform, offering retailers credit lines with flexible payments, discovery of diverse global brands and products, and the ability to customise products for exclusive offers in their store. Its brands are global suppliers to companies such as William Sonoma, IKEA, Crate and Barrel, Nordstroms and Goop, among others.
As it continues to build out a world class team to execute on an aggressive plan for scale, Powered by People has now raised a US$1.5 million seed round, and is working on forming more relationships with more retailers across Africa and globally.
The round was led by Matt Kalish of DraftKings and TBD Angels, among other angel investors who are affiliates with DraftKings, Skillz and Uber, and impact investors, Good+Well. Powered by People’s previous investors and financial supporters include Founders Factory Africa, Mercy Corps and the Mastercard Foundation.
“The landscape for B2B marketplaces has changed, we are building the future of retail to be more digital, more diverse, and more transparent. Off of a fresh round of funding, we will be able to support access for a whole new class of artisans to compete in the mainstream retail market,” said the startup’s co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Ella Peinovich.
“We are the bridge that empowers mainstream retailers, designers, and brands to source diverse and exclusive products from around the world – across home décor and accessories, fashion and beauty products – some of the fastest growing sectors in retail. We are honoured to be a technology partner for the 100s of millions of boutique manufacturers globally looking to move online.”