Tendo – a Ghanaian based e-commerce startup that enables persons sell online with zero upfront inventory has launched its operations in Nigeria.
Its launched operations comes after securing backing from Catalyst Fund, Google and Y Combinator.
Tendo, which was launched in 2021 has developed a mobile application that connects dropshippers to local wholesalers. Sellers on Tendo are able to source products and resell them using social commerce tools such as WhatsApp, arrange delivery and get paid all through the app.
“At the moment, people who want to sell online need to save money, visit hundreds of suppliers to find a trusted one, and risk losing their capital by stocking up inventory. Beyond this, they need to incur costs for logistics and warehousing. We eliminate all that,” Felix Manford, the startup’s co-founder and CEO, said.
The startup which is currently working with thousands of merchants in Ghana has its funding from Google Black Founders’ Fund, LoftyInc Capital Management, and Plug and Play Ventures.
Also, Tendo has also recently taken part in the Y Combinator W22 accelerator and Catalyst Fund’s inclusive digital commerce programme.
Tendo’s successes stems from a pivot as Manford and the Tendo team haf initially built an influencer marketing platform called Hashfyre to help young social media users earn an income by partnering with brands on micro-influencer campaigns.
“As we built our community we realised most of our users had more interest in starting a business but struggled to raise initial capital. We also learned that social media had become the preferred shopping channel for many consumers in Africa – an estimated 32 per cent of all e-commerce in Africa was happening on Facebook,” Manford said.
“We initially launched Tendo and distributed products through WhatsApp groups. We also used spreadsheets to manage and track orders, he added.
Based on its strong growing trajectory, Tendo is tackling the lack of trust amongst African consumers in regards to shopping online.
“Consumers here trust people they know, not brands – and they make purchase decisions based on this. This social experience is however missing on many traditional e-commerce platforms in Africa,” Manford said.
He further added, “To address that deficit Tendo leverages on social networks of individuals and the platform leans in on the existing consumer behavior. Tendo is shaping digital commerce in Africa by putting selling power in the hands of everyday users. Anyone can become an entrepreneur.”
Tendo runs a marketplace model, taking a percentage of each order processed on the platform. Suppliers can also pay for ad placements on the app to boost the visibility of their products. Manford said revenues were steadily growing, with the prime challenge faced by the startup being offering affordable and reliable last-mile delivery.
“However, over the past months, we’ve been able to refine our process and secure better partnerships that have provided us with significant cost savings which our sellers have benefited from,” he said.
With the appointment of Chisom Ukaegu as new country manager for Nigeria, Tendo intends to seize the demographic to building the largest network of resellers in the country.
“With the young demographics making up more than one-third of Nigeria’s growing population, Tendo’s entry into Nigeria is the logical next step as we work towards building the largest reselling platform in Africa”.
“Our primary focus here is to build the largest network of resellers, or Tendo merchants as we like to build the largest network of resellers, or Tendo merchants as we like to call them, and equipping them with the resources and support needed to grow and manage their business,” Ukaegu said.