Powered by People, a wholesale e-commerce platform based in Kenya, has raised $5 million in seed funding aimed at increasing its transaction volumes by growing the number of small brands using its B2B online marketplace to reach international buyers.
The equity fund was led by Susa Ventures and Golden Ventures with participation from a number of investors including Flexport Ventures, J Ventures, and the founders of DraftKings, Fabric.
This funding round brings the total funding raised by the startup to $7 million as it previously got support from other investors including the Founders Factory Africa, Mercy Corps and the Mastercard Foundation.
Powered by People is a mobile-first, distributed manufacturing system offering online tools, financing solutions, and a B2B marketplace. The company was founded by Peinovich, Hedvig Alexander and Alison Phillips in 2019 with a bid to to create a platform that enables multiple brands access international markets, which was a shift from running a production line.
While commenting on the equity investment, Powered by People co-founder and CEO Ella Peinovich said, “we are going to continue building up our technology…we have new vendor tools we are launching this quarter that will help streamline and automate things to help these businesses take on bigger orders and grow. We are also investing in building our senior leadership.”
Since its launch in June 2021, Powered by People has grown to become a truly global company. With team members strategically located in the US, Canada, Kenya, India, Mexico, Turkey and the UK.
The startup works with over 200 brands and over 45,000 artisans from 47 countries, who sell to retailers like West Elm and The Citizenry, across major markets including in North America and Asia.
The business recorded an annual run rate of $15 million in total gross merchandise value by mid-March, and this is expected to grow to $25 million before the year ends. Orders on the platform average $1,200.
Powered by People is also creating regional hubs to ensure quicker order deliveries, tapping the opportunities in drop-ship e-commerce.