Individuals or businesses purchasing furniture in Africa can do so from local furniture stores or from global furniture retailers such as IKEA. But both options have pros and cons. In the latter case, local furniture stores may lack the quality customers demand, while global retailers may over-price in addition to taking months to ship products to Africa.
Taylora Lagos-based startup innovating around these issues related to time, quality and cost with its online furniture e-commerce store, has raised $2.5 million from Nigeria-based early-stage growth equity and gender equality agency Aruwa Capital Dollar “expansion” funding – Lens Fund.
Taeillo said in a statement that it is an option for customers who incur high costs when importing furniture (plus unstable exchange rates) and have to endure a long waiting period of 3-6 months before the furniture is delivered. Alternatives. “…we provide our customers with great looking furniture at a fraction of the price of imports and shorten lead times by 50% to approximately 4-8 weeks,” it continued.
Established in 2018 Zhu Medadathe online furniture seller sources raw materials from local suppliers and produces furniture pieces ranging from sofas and beds to chairs and tables, which it sells to individual customers and businesses. The company doubles as a manufacturer and retailer and has been compared to Wayfair and the now-defunct Made.com.However, because it serve a completely different marketTaeillo had to guarantee the authenticity of its products by infusing them with cultural elements, calling them Afro-centric furniture.
When Dada launched the platform, its target audience was exclusively businesses. The initial offering received $165,000 in seed funding from investors including CcHUB Growth Capital, Montane Capital, and B-Knight. In mid-2020, however, Taiello leaned on investor guidance amid the pandemic and pivoted to direct-to-consumer, citing market opportunity after several walk-in stores ceased operations.
“It was more or less like opportunity met preparation because a lot of people were at home at the time and the leading furniture brands weren’t serving them online,” CEO Dada told TechCrunch. “Traditional showrooms are also locked up, so this is an opportunity for brands like us to position themselves and prove that they can buy furniture online without having to go into a showroom.”
This decision proved to be a masterstroke. Until its center of gravity, Taeillo sold less than 200 pieces of furniture in Nigeria. Its fulcrum comes from the launch of the “Amakisi” table (₦29,999/~$85)—a workbench and one of its best-sellers—it quickly became popular, selling more than 1,000 units within six months. Since then, the online furniture manufacturer and retailer has expanded into 10 additional product categories, expanded into Kenya, and shipped more than 10,000 pieces of furniture to more than 5,000 customers in both countries.
In 2021, Taeillo raised $150,000 in bridge financing from CcHUB Syndicate as it tripled its revenue from the previous year. But this growth and progress has not been without headaches. Because some of its furniture is popular among millennials and working-class Nigerians, Taeillo has struggled to keep up with demand; in each case, it took months to deliver the product.although it Although it manages its supply chain to some extent and manufactures about 70 percent of its products, the startup also relies on third-party manufacturers to make components, which are then sent to Taeillo’s warehouses, assembled and shipped to customers. According to Dada, the company produces as many as 800 pieces of furniture per month, and the reason for the extended waiting time is working with these third-party suppliers, including suppliers and logistics services.
“Sometimes, as a modern business, you have to deal with suppliers of crude oil. But recently, we had to change suppliers to shorten our time to get materials. Currently, we are also establishing strategic partnerships with third-party logistics companies, And possibly build a logistics arm to help us improve deliveries.” The CEO spoke of how Taeillo plans to deal with longer lead times, while acknowledging that the online furniture maker and retailer could also improve its ability to handle production. Way.
With this funding, Taeillo intends to reduce lead times to about 3-5 days by prefabricating some of its best-selling furniture, such as the “Amakisi” table, rather than waiting for customers to place an order before starting production. The investment will also help scale its “Pay with Flexi” offering, where shoppers can buy furniture and pay in installments; more than 200 people have used it. Then there’s its augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) technology, which powers virtual showrooms, where the startup intends to double down on marketing.
“We’ve done a lot with fewer resources. So now, we want to acquire great talent to take us to the next stage of growth. Additionally, we want to increase our market share, optimize operations, hack our supply chain and Make sure customers have a great experience,” said the chief executive of the online furniture retailer, which will generate more than $1 million in annual revenue in 2021.
Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes, founder and managing partner of sole investor Aruwa Capital, said investing in Taeillo fits with one of her firm’s investment goals: supporting startups founded and led by women. Last week, the three-year-old growth equity firm was one of a handful of companies founded and run by an African woman, closure A fund of over $20 million from the Visa Foundation and other LPs invested in 10 startups in fintech, healthcare, renewable energy and consumer staples serving the female population.
“In line with Aruwa’s gender lens investment strategy, Taeillo is founded and led by women, with 50 percent female representation on its management team,” she said in a statement. “… company [Taeillo] It has maintained its innovative model in the traditional brick-and-mortar industry to create a unique value proposition for customers in a fast-growing and underserved market. By leveraging technology across its value chain, Taeillo was able to grow exponentially in less than 2 years, achieving results that would take traditional furniture companies decades to achieve. ”