Xetova explores market data gaps in Africa to improve access to market information • TechCrunch

Xetova explores market data gaps in Africa to improve access to market information • TechCrunch

Xetova explores market data gaps in Africa to improve access to market information • TechCrunch

Africa is seen as the next trading frontier, following the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which has created the largest unrestricted trading region in the world. However, while trade liberalization aims to boost intra-regional trade, its take-off depends on investments in key infrastructure to ensure supply chain efficiency. More progress relates to how quickly market information flows to key stakeholders, including traders, regulators and financiers.

Aware of the emerging opportunities, Xetova, a Kenyan startup, deploys technologies that make information about market opportunities accessible to traders. It is currently building a network of large, medium and small companies, which will be leveraged to derive insights and forecasts on market opportunities and risks.

“We are building a network of trust which, for example, allows a company in Kenya to know who to work with in a country like Nigeria, South Africa. This network of trust can only be built with the ability to collect verifiable data,” said Bramuel Mwalo, Founder and CEO of Xetova, adding that his company is working on the largest network of business intelligence and support for supply chain.

To ensure that business trends, reports and highlights are authentic, Xetova, which was founded in 2019, positions its network on data from its information service, which companies use to interpret data on supply chains, spend, revenue and general management performance into actionable insights.

The information service is the first in Xetova’s suite that customers sign up for before subscribing to others that include trade finance and links to extensive trade networks.

Mwalo’s interest in African trade was prompted by research in which he was involved, which showed that entrepreneurs have a high chance of success if they have access to large public markets and less fragmented distribution channels. .

“This discovery made me curious about B2B trade, large supply chains and how African entrepreneurs access large sourcing opportunities. I developed this theory that data can dramatically drive the commerce and how businesses access opportunities, manage risks and interact with each other,” said Mwalo.

“Next, my PhD thesis explored ways to make B2B data accessible in the sense that anyone in Africa who is trying to do business should actually have access to opportunity, risk and network data. This information needs to be readily available in the market, and when available, it dramatically changes the way trades are made because ultimately we perceive risk differently,” he said.

Midway through her studies, Mwalo took time off to join Kountable, a financier who provided loans to SMEs excluded from formal institutions due to lack of collateral.

During his two years as leader of Kountable, he says, they funded $32 million in deals, supporting 200 entrepreneurs in several countries, including Kenya and Rwanda. However, it has been difficult for them to increase loans, even with a $150 million line of credit, due to the lack of verifiable data on the operations of many companies.

“Initially, business went very well and adoption was fantastic. The challenge came when we needed to scale beyond 200. Every time we started hiring companies outside of our network, we lost money. Their needs were growing too fast, faster than our ability to do due diligence,” Mwalo said.

“It was then that I realized that the biggest problem with trade in Africa is not capital, it is information asymmetry in terms of value, security and return. “, did he declare.

This experience drove him to launch Xetova to ensure businesses understand and unlock the value of the data they own, use it to deliver solutions to their challenges, and demonstrate how it can be leveraged at scale for business. business intelligence that can open up new partnerships and bigger markets. This is in addition to the ability for businesses to access loans based on their own data and information, which is used by lenders within Xetova’s networks to offer tailored loans.

In addition to serving businesses, Xetova’s clients include government agencies with whom it works to improve healthcare efficiency. For these entities, it provides information on consumption, distribution, procurement spend, supplier performance, and payments.

The company says it recorded revenue of $2.45 million in December last year and facilitated trade finance to the tune of $7 million.

Xetova is looking to grow its customer base from the current 60 large companies to 300 in the next 18 months.

The company aims to recruit 10 major distributors in Africa, increase access to more than 10 countries among the current seven and facilitate $20 million in trade financing.

Xetova, which raised $4 million in a seed round last year led by South Africa’s TRT Investments, is also launching a scholarship program for potential investors.

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