Norrsken22, a tech growth fund targeted at Africa and backed by a network of tech founders from Scandinavia, has invested in Nigerian B2B ecommerce startup Sabi to mark its first deal.
Norrsken22, which is raising arguably the largest venture fund of its kind for Africa, did not disclose the investment value. However, a news report citing one of the top executives said it joined a $20 million funding round. It is not clear if it chipped in with all of the money or had any co-investors.
Sabi brings merchants and resellers into its network with curated business tools and services that help them reach new customers, improve cash flow and streamline logistics. It works with over 10,000 agents operating across Africa that interface with new merchants and service providers across multiple business categories including agriculture, FMCG, electronics, and financial services.
It is currently operational in Nigeria and launched in Kenya recently.
“We believe companies like Sabi will emerge as the central utility for not only basic-goods purchases, but also social commerce, and access to financial services. With the best operating team and a clear product market fit, we believe massive economic activity in Africa’s fastest-growing markets will orbit around the Sabi platform,” Norrsken22 said in a blog post.
Sabi has taken a different approach compared to peers Sokowatch and Trade Depot. Norrsken said that besides its capital-light strategy, driving efficiency in existing distribution networks rather than building own centralized logistics, Sabi has also included all players in the market, such as wholesalers and distributors, empowering them rather than disrupting them.
This has helped it to extract more value with 15 months into launch the company has already surpassed 250,000 merchants.
Sabi was founded by Anu Adasolum and Ademola Adesina as an asset-light B2B marketplace serving Africa’s informal sector. I had last November raised $6 million in a bridge round led by pan-African VC firm CRE Ventures.
CRE Ventures had also participated in the company’s seed funding round in 2020 that was worth $2 million along with Janngo Capital, Atlantica Ventures and Waarde Capital.
Norssken22, which was spawned as an independent but for-profit growth fund by Norssken Foundation, a five-year-old non-profit dedicated to startups, had marked the first close of the Norrsken22 African Tech Growth Fund at $110 million in January. Its target corpus is $200 million.
The fund had hired top executives from Actis and Acuity Venture Partners, Natalie Kolbe, Lexi Novitske and Ngetha Waithaka, to lead the show.