Nigerian Retail-tech Startup Alerzo acquires fintech Shago payments to boost growth.


Alerzo, a Nigerian retail-tech startup, has acquired Shago Payments, a fintech company, in order to expand on its already impressive growth, which saw its annualised transaction volume exceed US$155 million in September.

Alerzo, based in Ibadan, is an all-in-one technology and services platform that is changing the way Nigeria’s informal retail establishments operate. Retailers can better measure shop profitability by ordering product, having it delivered fast, receiving and making cashless payments, and receiving and making cashless payments. Alerzo presently works with over 150,000 informal  retail stores.

In August, the startup announced a US$10.5 million Series A round led by London-based Nosara Capital, and since then, it has more than doubled its revenue and established a payments business. The latter was made possible by the recent acquisition of Shago Payments, a fintech startup founded by Sabastine Enechi, a payments industry veteran.

Alerzo now offers a portfolio of new digital services to informal retail establishments, including mobile airtime top-up, bill payments, and peer-to-peer transfers, thanks to Shago’s integration with AlerzoPay, the company’s payments arm.

Alerzo has also expanded its operations into Nigeria’s Middle Belt and Northern areas, with offices in Abuja and Kano. Before the end of next year, the company hopes to serve the majority of Nigeria.

“I started Alerzo to help my mom, a single mother who ran two informal retail stores to support me and my three siblings. Before Alerzo, she had to close her shop and travel for hours to buy inventory to stay in business,” said Alerzo founder Adewale Opaleye.

“Women are often victims of theft because street boys know retail store operators often carry cash. I wanted to apply what I learned in China to make life better for working mothers in Nigeria.”

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, the co-founder of Flutterwave and Andela and a member of Alerzo’s advisory board, said most businesses “talk a good game” about financial and economic inclusion but then proceed to focus their businesses on commercially savvy mega cities like Lagos or Nairobi. 

“Alerzo’s focus on excluded but commercially viable commerce communities in smaller cities like Ibadan is exemplary and visionary. I’m inspired by their focus on communities that are truly excluded,” he said.