April 23, 2024

Launched in 2020 as a spinoff of Rensource, an African energy company offering power-as-a-service to customers, Sabi provides merchants and resellers with business tools and services that help them reach new customers, improve cash flow, and streamline logistics. 

The startup targeted the over 41 million MSMEs in Nigeria that need efficient platforms that can connect them to business tools and services that help them reach new customers, improve cash flow, and streamline logistics. 

On Sabi, merchants can manage their profiles conveniently via offline and online channels. They can also access sales and inventory management tools, buy and sell products, track business performance, and access financing, all in one platform.

Sabi is also Africa’s leading provider of enabling infrastructure powering the distribution of goods and services.

Their platform enables and empowers a broad ecosystem of users, allowing merchants, importers, exporters, distributors, and manufacturers to expand their capabilities and grow their businesses using Sabi’s technology rails.

By providing these small and medium businesses with power, the team at Rensource began to look into other pain points these SMEs had and find ways to add value beyond energy provision.

With the pandemic halting Rensource’s business, the team had time to develop this concept which became Sabi in October 2020.

Sabi is an attempt at platforming the informal sector and African trade via various online and offline channels. 

This means that Sabi tries to complement the middlemen (mainly distributors) in the B2B e-commerce retail chain rather than replace them, a model familiar with other prominent B2B e-commerce retail startups such as Sokowatch, MaxAB TradeDepot, and Twiga.

Sabi caters to the needs of manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers and classifies all of them as merchants.

The company operates an asset-light model and doesn’t own vehicles, warehouses, or goods. But it provides visibility into these assets across the entire value chain from the demand and supply side and controls on a single platform.

Running this model exempts Sabi from the constraints a typical B2B e-commerce retail platform might face when acting as a distributor for manufacturers to retailers.

For instance, asset-heavy platforms can’t move goods from two different suppliers in the same truck or use the same salespeople when distributing goods from different suppliers to retailers. 

On the other hand, Sabi does not have such constraints, so whereas other platforms try to standardize operations around goods offtake, Sabi concentrates on offtake monitoring.

Also, Sabi’s pipeline is providing manufacturers with visibility and data-backed insights, and direct engagement down the value chain.

How it Works

Sustainability

At Sabi, they believe that sustainability and impact are critical to building a brighter future in Africa.

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They work to create positive social and environmental outcomes by supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and promoting sustainable practices throughout their value chain.

Through their technology platform, they provide SMEs with access to finance and resources, empowering them to grow their businesses and create jobs in their communities. 

They prioritize responsible sourcing and sustainable practices to ensure that our operations and those of our partners and suppliers have a positive impact on the environment.

They also believe that technology can play a key role in advancing sustainability and promoting social progress.

That is why they are committed to leveraging technology to drive positive change in Africa and beyond. By prioritizing sustainability and impact in all aspects of their business, they are working to create a brighter future for Africa.

Business Tools

They recognize that the professionalization of informal trade requires appropriate tooling that is fit for purpose. 

That is why they have built a range of powerful business tools for their ecosystem of clients, designed to streamline processes and improve efficiency.

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Sabi’s digital marketplace provides a platform for businesses to connect with distributors and producers to buy or sell their products or services online. 

With a user-friendly interface and customizations unique to the local environment, our marketplace makes it easy for small businesses to expand their reach and unlock their potential.

Their inventory management tool allows businesses to track their inventory levels in real time, ensuring that they always have the products they need on hand to meet demand.

Sales order management and digital ledger tools help businesses manage orders and payments, reducing friction in the transaction process and improving cash flow.

Additionally, their payment reconciliation tool streamlines payment processing, ensuring that businesses receive timely and accurate payments for their goods and services. 

With Sabi’s suite of business tools, small businesses can professionalize their operations, improve their efficiency, and unlock new growth opportunities.

Commerce

At Sabi, they recognize that building trust is critical to ensuring successful trade and distribution transactions, both domestically and across borders. 

That is why their commerce infrastructure is designed to work with a broad range of actors across the trade and distribution value chain, from producers to distributors and retailers.

Their technology-enabled platform streamlines the transaction process, reducing friction and increasing transparency. 

By providing access to information about the products being traded and the actors involved in the transaction, they help to minimize the trust deficit that can arise in complex supply chains.

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In addition, leveraging technology to create a more connected and transparent trade ecosystem, Sabi is helping to drive growth and development across Africa.

B2B Marketplace

Their flagship offering, the Sabi marketplace, cut across multiple categories including fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), agricultural commodities, electronics, and textiles. 

Merchants can restock their stores while leaving the often daunting wahala of fulfillment, aggregation, and disaggregation to Sabi. 

As their business grows on the Sabi marketplace, the merchant’s transaction history is used to build a validated profile, unlocking access to even more services to support from our ecosystem of partners. 

Sabi is dedicated to empowering small businesses and providing the resources and support needed to thrive.

Sourcing & Aggregation

Their technology-enabled platform is dedicated to providing reliable suppliers and competitive prices for commodity exports, without sacrificing quality or consistency. They ensure compliance with all relevant regulations and standards. 

From identifying the best sources for your products to aggregating them into efficient shipments, their services are tailored to meet the unique needs of their clients who trust them to maximize their success in the global market.

Collateral Verification & Management

The verification of quality, quantity, and ownership of collateral is streamlined for clients on the Sabi platform. 

Ensuring effective risk management in commodity transactions, Sabi offers access to regular inspections and storage monitoring for peace of mind and security.

Technology Rails for African Commodities Exchange (TRACE)

Traceability is essential for producers of commodities being exported from Africa. It can provide a level of transparency and accountability in the supply chain, helping to prevent exploitation and ensuring that producers are fairly compensated for their work.

Additionally, by ensuring that products meet strict quality and safety standards, these producers can access higher-value markets and improve their livelihoods. Ultimately, traceability can be a powerful tool for empowering and uplifting marginalized producers in Africa. 

Sabi’s TRACE initiative is working with our broad ecosystem of stakeholders to meet this challenge.

Financial Services

Access to appropriate financial services is critical for the success of small businesses.

Without adequate credit provision, small businesses can struggle to cover operational expenses, invest in growth opportunities, or withstand unexpected challenges.

Inadequate payment acceptance tools lead to lost sales and revenue while deepening reliance on cash payments. 

A reliance on cash payments results in a lack of traceability in financial records, hindering the ability to assess business reliability. 

Without digital payment acceptance tools, businesses may struggle to build a validated profile that helps them access more enabling services.

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Sabi is promoting financial inclusion by breaking down barriers to business formality.

Credit

Sabi has brought innovative fintech solutions to the market that help solve fundamental challenges in liquidity provision for merchants, importers, and exporters. 

Working with financing partners, they provide optimized liquidity in close cooperation with their customers and offer customized solutions by effectively utilizing data, risk metrics, and technology.

Their range of credit offerings includes commodity finance, inventory finance, and letter of credit finance.

Digital Payment Acceptance

Their innovative payment acceptance tools, integrated seamlessly into their merchant-facing applications, are designed to help small merchants easily and securely accept payments from customers near and far. 

With features like SoftPos, contactless payments, and digital payment links via SMS and WhatsApp, their tools are accessible, efficient, and tailored to meet the unique needs of African small businesses.

Founders

Anu Adasolum

Anu Adasolum

Anu Adasolum is the Founder and CEO of Sabi Am. 

She previously worked at Rensource Energy as a Chief Operating Officer. 

Anu Adasolum attended the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in 2010.

Investors & Funding Rounds

Janngo Capital, CRE Venture Capital, Atlantica Ventures, Waarde Capital

Sabi has secured a seed funding round as it announces the milestone of over 150,000 small business users on its platform.

Sabi merchants have recorded over US$1.2 billion worth of sales via MyShop, its ERP tool, and are on track to transact over US$80 million annualized on MerchBuy, its B2B marketplace, in 2021. 

Sabi works with over 10,000 agents operating across Nigeria that interface with new merchants and service providers across multiple business categories including agriculture, FMCG, electronics, and financial services. 

The startup has now closed a seed round with backing from investors including CRE Ventures, Janngo Capital, Atlantica Ventures, and Waarde Capital. 

It will use the funding to continue to grow its network across Nigeria, bringing on new merchants and service providers. 

The company recently established partnerships that will allow it to expand its financial services offerings to include savings accounts and other complementary risk-mitigating financial products.

Main Competitors

OmniBiz: This is a B2B e-commerce platform for FMCG manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.

Stedi: It is a platform of developer-focused building blocks for business integrations.

Mazepay: It helps procurement and finance professionals cut the tail in long-tail procurement.

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