Building Shopify for Africa: Nigeria’s Bumpa plans to digitise thousands of African businesses

September 2, 2021
3 min read

Nigerian eCommerce startup, Bumpa, has raised a $200,000 pre-seed to digitise thousands of African businesses on its platform.

Greencap Equity, HoaQ club, Rizq Investment Group, Microtraction, DFS Lab, Aidi Ventures, Prosper Otemuyiwa, Oo Nwoye, Perfect Makanju, Whogohost’s venture arm, and a few other angel investors took part in the round.

Bumpa, formerly known as SalesCabal, was relaunched in February 2021 by Kelvin Umechukwu (CEO) and Adetunji Opayele (CTO). The company helps retailers manage and grow their businesses using their smartphones. 

From a side project to a full-time project

Umechukwu and Opayele met in 2013 as students at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. They were part of the schools’ tech community, building different products.

After school, Opayele founded HostCabal, a company that helps small businesses host their businesses online. And in 2018, Umechukwu joined him as a business developer, albeit as a side gig. 

“After we built it, we noticed that a lot of businesses were coming online. So rather than building websites for individual businesses, we decided to automate the process. That's how it began as a side project,” Umechukwu explains to Techpoint Africa.

Because of the economic impact of COVID-19 in 2020, Opayele was confident that the product was ready for launch.

“Before 2020, it was difficult to move businesses online. So the idea was to figure out how to get businesses online because they were completely offline and lacked the resources to digitise their operations. That was how we began building SalesCabal, not Bumpa,” Umechukwu explains.

In May 2021, Umechukwu began working full-time at Bumpa with Opayele.

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Bumpa helps merchants grow their businesses online

The startup, which Umechukwu calls "Shopify for Africa," assists merchants and businesses in moving their operations online. It allows merchants with no technical skills and experience to set up their eCommerce store using their smartphones.

Additionally, Bumpa merchants can use their smartphones to accept online and offline payments, manage inventory/products, handle bookkeeping, fulfil orders, track sales, request dispatch riders, easily engage customers, and much more.

While Umechukwu attributes the successful round to having the right team and supportive investors who recognise value, he believes that with the financing, many small businesses will thrive as they leverage technology for business growth.

Growth and expansion

The startup claims to have onboarded over 7,000 merchants on its platform in the past six months, with a 50% month-on-month (MoM) growth rate. Bumpa also says that merchants have listed more than 30,000 products and completed over $500,000 in recorded transactions.

The startup is looking to provide more small business owners with tools to help them grow their businesses and hopes to reach 200,000 merchants by 2022.

The funding will be used to expand its operations and onboard more merchants on its platform.

“Right now, we are not looking at driving into other countries operationally until 2022. We still have a lot to capture here in Nigeria,” Umechukwu says.

Bumpa will also expand its team and introduce new features to improve merchant support as it seeks to help its customers increase their sales by at least 20% MoM.

“Bumpa was built primarily for emerging markets. We are also looking at expanding into Latin America, South Asia, and other continents. Those places will be our next big markets,” Opayele reveals.

According to Statista, over two billion people purchased goods or services online in 2020, revealing eCommerce’s importance to the global retail framework. 

However, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report titled “COVID-19 and e-commerce: a global review,” Africa only accounted for less than 3% of global eCommerce activities in 2020.

But, as we discussed in this article, online shopping could become a bigger deal in Africa in the coming years. And Bumpa believes that less technologically savvy merchants shouldn’t be left behind as they account for a greater proportion of Africa's small businesses. 

The co-founders, therefore, believe that small businesses will grow if offered Bumpa as a solution product.

“We see ourselves playing a key role in how African businesses will grow. A large part of the market isn't technologically savvy, so we are trying to create a product for non-tech savvy people,” Opayele concludes.

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She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.

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