Adewale Opaleye (Founder & CEO, Alerzo). Credit: TechCrunch

Alerzo, a B2B e-commerce retail startup based in Ibadan, has announced a $10.5 million Series A round led by London-based Nosara Capital. FJ Labs and several family offices from the U.S., Europe and Asia, including Michael Novogratz’s, participated in the round.

In total, Alerzo has raised more than $20 million since its launch. Early investors include the Baobab Network, an Africa-focused accelerator based in London, and Signal Hill, a Singapore-based fund manager that participated in its $5.5 million seed round last year. The company also said it closed a $2.5 million working capital facility to serve its customers, TechCrunch reported.

Adewale Opaleye founded Alerzo in 2018 as a last-mile distribution platform that helps retailers stock inventory directly from manufacturers. Its business, officially launched in 2019, is centered on helping street-side vendors and shops in Nigeria’s south-western cities access household supplies quicker and efficiently.

Speaking with TechCrunch, Opaleye said he started Alerzo to empower the millions of women who are the backbone of consumer commerce in Nigeria’s $100 billion informal retail sector.

The need to solve this problem stemmed from observing firsthand the challenges his mom faced while operating two mom-and-pop stores.

“Growing up in Ibadan, I watched my mother operate two informal retail stores to raise my three siblings and me. Seeing the many challenges she faced running her stores, and I decided to start a business that uniquely catered to the needs of retailers just like her,” he told TechCrunch in an interview.

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