Since the company’s Series A fundraising this summer, Alerzo’s B2B marketplace has more than doubled in revenue and has built a payments business that now processes more than 400,000 transactions each month.
Adewale Opaleye (“Ade”) founded Alerzo in Ibadan, Nigeria’s third-largest city, in 2019. The company provides more than 150,000 informal retail stores—more than 90% of which are operated by women—with free same-day delivery, cashless payments and a portfolio of other digital services that enhance store profitability while simplifying owners’ lives.
“I started Alerzo to help my mom, a single mother who ran two informal retail stores to support me and my three siblings. Before Alerzo, she had to close her shop and travel for hours to buy inventory to stay in business,” said Opaleye, who studied physics in Nigeria and computer science in China. “Women are often victims of theft because street boys know retail store operators often carry cash. I wanted to apply what I learned in China to make life better for working mothers in Nigeria.”
This summer Alerzo acquired Shago Payments to accelerate its transformation from a B2B marketplace to an all-in-one technology platform. Shago, founded by payments industry veteran Sabastine Enechi, accelerates Alerzo’s push into digital products and financial services. With Shago’s integration into AlerzoPay, the company’s payments arm, Alerzo now provides informal retail stores with a portfolio of new digital services such as mobile airtime top-up; bill payments and peer-to-peer transfers.
Santie Botha, chairman of Capitec Bank (South Africa), recently joined Alerzo’s board as the lead independent director. “I joined Alerzo’s board because I was inspired by Ade’s life story and share Alerzo’s commitment to empower working women in Africa,” Botha said.
Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, the co-founder of Flutterwave and Andela and a member of Alerzo’s advisory board said: "Most businesses talk a good game about financial and economic inclusion but then proceed to focus their businesses on commercially savvy mega cities like Lagos or Nairobi. Alerzo's focus on excluded but commercially viable commerce communities in smaller cities like Ibadan is exemplary and visionary. I'm inspired by their focus on communities that are truly excluded.”
In addition to Aboyeji, Alerzo’s advisory board includes senior executives who have worked at KKR, Facebook, Wellington Management and Galaxy Digital, among others.
Christina Sass, one of Alerzo’s investors and an Andela cofounder, said: “Alerzo is one of the rare social enterprises where an obvious and powerful social mission succeeds in tandem with the company's financial performance.”
In September, Alerzo expanded its operations to the Middle Belt and Northern regions of Nigeria, and now operates in Abuja and Kano. The Company plans to serve most of Nigeria before the end of next year.
Alerzo, headquartered in Singapore and Ibadan, Nigeria, is an all-in-one technology and services platform that transforms how Nigeria’s informal retail stores operate. With Alerzo, retailers can order stock, have it delivered quickly, receive and make cashless payments, track store profitability better, and facilitate a portfolio of digital services including airtime purchases, bill payments, and peer-to-peer transfers. Visit us at www.alerzo.com or follow us on LinkedIn, and to learn more about Alerzo please contact us at IR@alerzo.com.