Egypt-based B2B platform Cartona has completed a $12 million Series A funding round headed by Silicon Badia, a venture capital group that supports entrepreneurs in the world of technology, alongside the SANAD Fund for MSME, an impact investment fund with the purpose of empowering entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa. Along with already established investors Global Ventures and Kepple Ventures, other participants included Arab Bank Accelerator and Sunny Side Ventures.
The Egyptian traditional commerce market that comprises of mom-and-pop shops, FMCG producers, wholesalers, and distributors, is now being digitalized by Cartona, founded in 2019. The startup invests in embedding finance, payments, and operational integration with all stakeholders and promotes the notion of a cashless world. This offers suppliers and retailers with a comprehensive solution that supports financial inclusion, enabling them to operate and expand their businesses more effectively and provide customers with necessary goods at suitable prices.
The business model in use by Cartona is asset-light; it does not own a single item, warehouse, or vehicle. By removing inefficiencies along the supply chain and delivering smooth financial services to an underserved network of hundreds of thousands of shops, this enables Cartona to carry out its objective of digitizing Egypt’s traditional, primarily offline trading industry.
Cartona’s CEO and Co-Founder, Mahmoud Talaat, stated: “We are delighted to complete our Series A fundraise. The market context for Cartona is hugely attractive, and we are just getting started. Egypt has hundreds of thousands of mom-and-pop stores who are core to our business model. We will continue empowering them via efficient and seamless solutions in their trade and financial cycle with FMCG companies and wholesalers, aligning with our mission to help people better manage and control their businesses.”
Silicon Badia’s Founding Managing Partner, Namek T. Zu’bi, noted: “We are thrilled to partner with the Cartona team to help them continue to disrupt the $120Bn Egyptian retail market through its B2B technology platform and embedded financial service offerings. The market is hungry for these type of solutions and we believe Cartona’s asset-light approach will allow them to serve as many marketplace participants as possible in a highly efficient manner.”
The fund will be used to expand Cartona across Egypt to reach all provinces, to develop its products, technologies, and services, and to look into other industry verticals outside of FMCG.
The SANAD Board Chair, Dr. Daniela Beckmann, said: “We are incredibly proud of this transaction as it is the first investment of SANAD ESF II in Egypt, continuing the success of ESF I investments made in the country. By providing both financing and a software tailored to the market, Cartona’s digital platform is supporting innovative MSME retailers across Egypt, which will greatly contribute to SANAD’s mission of pursuing growth and employment creation across the region.”