WaystoCap, the eCommerce company that is part of the Y Combinator program, is aiming to boost cross-border business-to-business sales in Africa.
According to a report by TechCrunch, founders of the startup think they have just begun to scratch the service with its stated mission. Prior to setting up a marketplace in 2015, WaystoCap had helped connect sellers across Africa informally. Since 2015, the company has sold $3.5 million in merchandise, with the company telling TechCrunch that sales have been a lot stronger during the past few months.
Because of the sheer size of Africa, the company started out focusing on the food business in 10 countries. During the past year, it has expanded into 10 other segments, including household appliances, textiles, clothing and industrial tools.
Niama El Bassunie, chief executive of WaystoCap, said in an interview that the biggest challenge for the company is the lack of knowledge about cross-border trading. While it’s estimated to be the main source of income for more than 40 percent of Africa’s population, the whole market hasn’t evolved much over the years. “Payment default is one of the main issues suppliers have faced,” El Bassunie said in the report. He noted that WaystoCap wants to “rethink the whole model and disrupt the traditional importers who have access to finance, information and more.”
The CEO noted that, looking into the future, WaystoCap is aiming to expand into more markets and verticals. The company has raised an undisclosed amount of seed financing and is looking for investors at Y Combinator’s demo day that is coming up soon. “Our main plan is to get into English-speaking West African countries and look into East Africa after we raise funding,” El Bassunie said. “The market is really huge — estimated at around $750 billion.”