Individuals or businesses buying furniture in Africa can shop at local furniture stores or global furniture retailers like IKEA. But both options have pros and cons; for the latter, local furniture stores may lack the quality customers need, while global retailers, in addition to taking several months to ship their products to Africa, may be too expensive.
TaeilloA Lagos-based startup that innovates around these issues of time, quality, and cost through its online furniture e-commerce store, has raised $2.5 million in “expansion” funding from Aruwa Capital, an early-stage growth gender and equity company based in Nigeria. -lens background.
In a statement, Taeillo said it is an alternative for customers who incur high costs when importing furniture (combined with an unstable exchange rate) and have to endure long waiting periods of 3-6 months before the furniture is delivered. . “…We provide customers with aesthetically pleasing furniture at a fraction of the import price and with a 50% reduction in delivery time to about 4-8 weeks,” he continued.
Founded in 2018 by jumoke dadaThe online furniture seller sources raw materials from local suppliers and manufactures furniture, from sofas and beds to chairs and tables, which it sells to individual customers and businesses. The company, which is also a manufacturer and retailer, can be compared to Wayfair and the now-defunct Made.com. However, because serves a completely different marketTaeillo has had to be authentic with his product offering by infusing cultural elements (he refers to them as Afrocentric furniture).
When Dada launched the platform, its target audience was solely businesses. The initial product generated $165,000 in seed funding from investors including CcHUB Growth Capital, Montane Capital, and B-Knight. However, in mid-2020, during the pandemic, Taiello, leaning on investor guidance and citing an opportunity in the market after several walk-in stores halted operations, switched to a direct-to-consumer approach.
“It was more or less like an opportunity that was met with preparation because, at the time, a lot of people were at home and the major furniture brands weren’t online to serve them,” CEO Dada told TechCrunch. “Traditional showrooms were also closed, so it was an opportunity for brands like us to position ourselves and show that they could buy furniture online without necessarily going to showrooms.”
The decision turned out to be a coup; Until his pivot, Taeillo had sold less than 200 pieces of furniture in Nigeria. His pivot came with the launch of the “Amakisi” table (₦29,999/~$85), a workbench and one of their best sellers, which quickly gained popularity, selling over 1,000 pieces in six months. Since then, the online furniture manufacturer and retailer has expanded into 10 additional product categories, moved to Kenya, and shipped more than 10,000 pieces of furniture to more than 5,000 customers in both countries.
In 2021, Taeillo raised a $150,000 bridge round from CcHUB Syndicate as he tripled his revenue from the previous year. But that growth and progress did not come without heartache. Due to the popularity of some of his furniture within the Nigerian working-class and millennial demographic, Taeillo has had trouble meeting demand; on several occasions, taking months to deliver the products. Via manages its supply chain to some degree and makes about 70% of its products, the startup also relies on outside manufacturers who make components before they are shipped to the Taeillo warehouse, assembled, and shipped to customers. According to Dada, the reasons behind the long lead times, as the company produces up to 800 pieces of furniture per month, are due to working with these third-party vendors, including vendors and logistics services.
“Sometimes as a modern business you have to deal with raw suppliers. But recently, we have had to change our suppliers to shorten the time we receive materials. At this time, we are also working on strategic alliances with third-party logistics companies and we could set up a logistics arm to help us improve our deliveries.” the CEO said about how Taeillo plans to deal with long delivery times and admitted that the online furniture manufacturer and retailer could also improve the way it handles production.
With the funding, Taeillo aims to reduce lead times to around 3-5 days by pre-manufacturing some of its best-selling furniture (for example, the “Amakisi” table) instead of waiting for customers to place orders before starting production. . The investment will also help scale its “Pay with Flexi” product, where buyers 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), which the startup intends to double down on in terms of marketing.
“We have done a lot of work with less. So now we want to get outstanding talent that will take us to the next stage of growth. In addition, we want to increase our market share, streamline operations, hack our supply chain and make sure customers have a great experience,” said the CEO of the online furniture retailer, which had more than $1 million in revenue. annually in 2021.
Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes, founder and managing partner of sole investor Aruwa Capital, said investing in Taeillo aligns with one of her firm’s investment objectives: supporting start-ups founded and led by women. Last week, the three-year-old growth equity firm, which is one of the few founded and run by an African woman, closed a $20+ million fund from the Visa Foundation and other LPs to invest in 10 startups in fintech, healthcare, renewable energy and essential consumer goods serving the female population.
“In accordance with Aruwa’s gender-responsive investment strategy, Taeillo is founded and led by a woman and has 50% female representation on its management team,” it said in a statement. “… The company [Taeillo] has maintained its innovative model in a traditional brick and mortar industry, creating a unique value proposition for its clients in an underserved and rapidly growing market. By leveraging technology in its value chain, Taeillo has been able to achieve exponential growth in less than 2 years, achieving results that traditional furniture companies take decades to achieve.”