Alerzo, a B2B technology and services platform focused on Nigeria’s informal retail sector, has raised $10.5 million in Series A funding, bringing its total funds to more than $20 million.
Nosara Capital led the round, which included Galaxy Digital, Michael Novogratz’s family office, FJ Labs, and several other prominent family offices from the US, Europe, and Asia.
Alerzo is a technology and services startup founded in 2019 by Adewale Opaleye with the sole purpose of empowering informal retailers.
Opaleye’s vision for Alerzo was inspired by his childhood; grew up in Ibadan, where he experienced first-hand many of the challenges faced by a single mother who struggled to raise her four children by running two informal retail stores.
Opaleye’s mother is part of a $ 100 billion informal retail sector that is the backbone of consumer commerce in Nigeria. These retailers suffer from an inefficient distribution system resulting in inconsistent inventory availability, unclear prices and limited access to major banking and financial services.
Currently, Alerzo customers can order by phone, USSD message or via WhatsApp. Once the order is received, Alerzo’s internal order management application forwards it to the appropriate warehouse and the internal logistics team delivers it to the customer, usually within 4 hours. Customers only pay when they receive the product in their store, unlike most delivery services which require payment in advance.
Alerzo serves more than 80,000 informal retail stores in southwestern Nigeria, and the company focuses on second- to fourth-tier cities in the country. Alerzo estimates that 90% of its client base are women, of which 80% are working mothers and 70% are the main breadwinner in the family. Alerzo’s mission is to focus on supporting these entrepreneurs, who are the backbone of their respective communities.
This Series A funding round will be used to expand geographically into northern Nigeria, doubling Alerzo’s service area and launching the AlerzoPay cashless payment and loan platform, as well as a portfolio of new business support services.