Millions of SMEs still operate inefficiently due to reliance on manual processes, which limits their ability to grow and scale; despite contributing about 48% of Nigeria’s GDP over the past five years,
But the tide is turning. In the last few months, we have seen a wave of startups launching solutions aimed at digitizing small business operations. In the latest development, Bumpa, which says it is building infrastructure to power online commerce and enable small African entrepreneurs to start, manage and grow their businesses from their mobile devices, has raised $4 million in seed funding.
The company, which published $200,000 previously seeded last September, she said she intends to use the investment to hire talent, build her processes, structure and scale for new African markets.
Founded by Kelvin Umechukwu and Adetunji Opayele, Bumpa aims to leverage the investment to recruit talent, build its processes and structure, and expand into new African markets. It announced a $200,000 pre-seed last September.
The platform’s origin story can be traced back to 2018, when founders Kelvin Umechukwu and Adetunji Opayele — while running another startup involving small business consulting — created websites for small business owners interested in going online for the first time. Subsequent versions tweaked Shopify’s image: a basic website builder that small businesses could use without much help.
However, after gaining some popularity, it became clear that Bumpa needed to evolve to meet the growing demands of companies on the platform, including sales and accounting records, inventory tracking and customer data storage. It also helped that both founders come from families of small entrepreneurs, so they got a first-hand insight into these problems.
And while companies moved en masse when COVID-19 hit in 2020, Bumpa went back to the drawing board, revamped its product and launched a new version on the market the following year. This version allows companies to create websites in “60 seconds”, accept payments, manage inventory, manage accounting, fulfill orders and engage customers.
“We’re trying to address the inefficiencies that small businesses face because most of them have been in the black hole for a long time. They don’t have enough data and insight into what’s happening, what’s being sold and how their products are being sold,” said CEO Umechukwu in an interview with TechCrunch. “While many startups are trying to solve this, we’re doing it differently. We’re evolving and we think that our capabilities are the foundation of what is possible with Bump.”
Bumpa 2.0: Product Ecosystem Integration
Small businesses in Nigeria are currently full of options with Bumpa, products that can digitize their operations, including accounting, invoicing and inventory management. Some include Pastel, of the statue and CHALLENGE.
In August, Bumpa made a move that got the message across: It took a different approach to its relationship with small businesses as a retail automation company rather than an embedded financial platform.
“I think the ideology and product direction between Bumpa and other companies is different. Most of them have fintech elements; we are not trying to be fintech – we are in the retail automation space,” stated CEO Umechukwu. “We’re not trying to solve things in fintech that have already been solved. There are new things that haven’t been tested before, like Meta integration.”
Bumpa’s Meta integration allows your marketers to connect their Instagram and Facebook accounts to the Bumpa app, receive DMs from their customers and reply via the Bumpa app. The integration also allows them to share and sell products, share invoices/receipts, record sales, store customer data and request payments in the Bumpa app, while reflecting in their customers’ Instagram DMs. All these transactions take place without leaving the merchant from Bumpa and the buyer from Instagram.
Several tech watchers praised Meta’s integration, which Umechukwu said will take Bumpa to the next stage: bringing various digital solutions essential to small businesses’ day-to-day operations and integrating them into a social commerce and retail automation platform.
“There is so much fragmentation in the universe. A business owner likely uses up to 10 solutions, including social media, payments, invoicing, logistics and marketplace applications. But none of these solutions communicate with each other,” he said. “We want to be that connecting platform on the continent. The idea now is to connect all these solutions and channels that small businesses use with the click of a button and basically make it easier to transfer information for efficiency.”
However, Bumpa would not blindly embark on this herculean task. It will prioritize based on orders and activities completed on the platform. For example, what triggered the Meta integration was that 40% of all orders on Bumpa come from Instagram and WhatsApp. In a subtle attempt to bring conversational commerce to the more than 50,000 small businesses on its platform, upcoming integrations will include WhatsApp, Messenger and Google My Business. The work is similar to what Charles has in Europe.
However, these integrations are not free. Bumpa hooked them up with a subscription plan to supplement their first source of income: commissions on online transactions. Umechukwu said subscriptions doubled Bump’s revenue from the second quarter to the third quarter of this year. Overall, Bumpa has completed more than 200,000 orders since its inception and recorded a GMV of more than USD 20 million.
Base10 Partners, the world’s largest black fund, is the lead investor in Bump’s seed round; it is the company’s second investment in Africa after Okra, a Nigerian API fintech. Other participating investors include Plug & Play Ventures, SHL Capital, emerging markets focused fund Magic Fund, Jedar Capital, DFS Labs, FirstCheck Africa Angel Program, E62 Ventures, Club14 and Fast Forward Ventures.
Fast Forward Ventures managing partner Opeyemi Awoyemi said Bumpa is doing for Africa what Shopify did in North America. Outlining why his company is doubling down on the social commerce platform after an initial $30,000 check, he said Bumpa is “unlocking prosperity (and massive GDP) for millions of new and existing sellers.” The company’s operating partner, Omolara Awoyemi, is Bump’s chief operating officer.
Meanwhile, Luci Fonseca, director of Base10 Partners, said in a statement that Bumpa enables e-commerce and reduces friction for millions of small and medium-sized businesses. “The more time we spent with Kelvin and Adetunji Opayele (Teejay), the more we saw that they are very special founders and have a strong mission to build a defining e-commerce platform in Nigeria and across Africa,” he added.