BY TOM JACKSON
Moroccan B2B e-commerce startup WaystoCap, a Y Combinator graduate, pivoted last year from a cross-border marketplace to focusing more locally instead, and says it has seen strong uptake since.
WaystoCap allows African businesses to buy and sell products, helping them to discover products, verify them, obtain financing and insurance, manage their shipments, and ensure payments security.
In 2017, the startup was a participant in the Y Combinator accelerator and raised a funding round, but since then it has adapted its approach.
“After graduating from Y Combinator in 2017 at WaystoCap we were focused on an African cross-border marketplace. In 2020 we pivoted our model, moving from a focus on cross-border to local marketplaces in Morocco, Ivory Coast, and Togo focused on retailers,” Niama El Bassunie, the startup’s chief executive officer (CEO), told Disrupt Africa.
“The reason for the pivot was as a result of many iterations where we came to the conclusion that the pure cross-border marketplace that we launched in 2017 was not best for servicing the small and medium sized business needs in Africa, and was rather just working through more middlemen.”
WaystoCap realised that the best way to enable these businesses and help them with their growth was by focusing on the tools that would allow them to do so through an online marketplace connecting them with brands, manufacturers and suppliers, and resolving their daily procurement needs.
The new platform includes an online marketplace with access to thousands of products, a digital inventory management solution, access to working capital leveraging historical data, and solutions for resolving daily procurement hassles and associated logistics.
Once WaystoCap started piloting the model, it caught on quickly.
“In less than a year it’s grown significantly into a network of over 10,000 retailers with thousands of products available through one mobile application,” El Bassunie said. “Our marketplace has been a game changer for them as we turn these traditional retailers into modern superstores.”
It is also extending the reach of sellers into new markets, which allowed WaystoCap to grow by a multiple of 30 in 2020. This rapid growth is continuing in 2021.
“Just as B2C was digitised in the last two decades, now we are bringing technology to an archaic and disorganised industry, working with millions of retailers all over the continent to leapfrog the way things are done today, and bring the clarity and empowerment technology can offer,” said El Bassunie.