ShopZetu raises pre-seed funding to grow the fashion marketplace beyond Kenya


Image Credits: ShopZetu

Kenyan fashion e-commerce startup ShopZetu is set to add beauty and home decor categories to its portfolio to respond to the needs of young, style-conscious women in Africa. This will more than triple the number of vendors on the platform to 1,000 as it scales regionally, currently working to attract international fashion brands over the next few months.

Beyond Kenya, where the startup launched in 2021, it plans to pilot regional delivery services in Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda with $1 million in pre-seed funding.

The goal is for ShopZetu to become the leading lifestyle platform. We are looking to expand our signature beauty, skincare, hair and home decor offerings. We want to be a one-stop shop,” says Supzetu CEO Marvin Kiragu, who co-founded the popular Kenyan fashion brand Vivo with Wandia Jichuru.

The pre-seed round was led by Chui Ventures with participation from Latch Africa, Roselake Ventures and Logos Ventures. Angel investors participating in the round include Kendall Tang, CEO of RT Knits; Ben Munoz, co-founder and CEO of Nadine West; Sumit Bhasin of Estee Lauder Inc; Patricia Itau, CEO of WPP Scangroup and Peter Njonjo, Founder and CEO of Twiga Foods.

Kiragu told TechCrunch that ShopZetu was born out of the need for a multi-brand marketplace to connect the highly fragmented industry with “hundreds of thousands of sellers” both offline and online, including on Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp. This, he said, makes the purchasing process difficult, price visibility, and customer confidence in jeopardy.

He added that the infinite number of stock holding units makes it impossible for a player to keep the difference in one physical location.

“ShopZetu seeks to solve this problem by bringing together existing fashion and lifestyle products under one roof,” he said.

Shopzetu’s more than 300 sellers, mainly from large and small local manufacturers and importers of fashion products, currently list more than 20,000 products on Shopzetu’s marketplace. Vendor onboarding is free, but they pay a commission for sales generated on the platform and for other additional services, including delivery.

“We also offer a range of services to suppliers such as content, digital marketing, warehousing, last mile delivery and returns management. These services are provided at cost but are largely subsidized to ensure suppliers’ online success,” said Kiragu.

“Our goal is to lower the barriers for anyone to start a fashion brand and use ShopZetu’s reach and resources. We have great case studies of brands that have graduated and launched on ShopZetu and then gone online to scale and set up physical stores,” he said.

Startups require marketplace sellers to be well-stocked, have high-quality products, and have inclusive sizes, among other conditions.

The startup says it has served more than 30,000 customers in the past two years and has sold more than 100,000 products and is seeing a more than 400% increase in monthly orders as of January 2021.

Shop Zetu says he is looking at the growing fashion industry in sub-Saharan Africa. However, start-ups like Shopzetu are finding their growth with affordable new clothing options, and a growing fashion-savvy, tech-savvy African.

“We believe that the market for fashion is huge as clothing is a basic human need. While the largest percentage of this is provided by secondhand clothing, we are seeing a gradual shift to new clothing as more affordable options enter the market,” said Kiragu.

“We believe online fashion retail will leapfrog traditional retail to become the largest e-commerce category in Africa.”


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