Kenyan fashion e-commerce startup Zetu store will add beauty and home improvement categories to its portfolio in response to to grow The needs of young and fashion-conscious women in Africa. Currently, the company is expanding regionally in the coming months as it works to attract international fashion brands and more than triple the number of suppliers on its platform to 1,000.
The startup plans to pilot regional delivery services in Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda and expand beyond Kenya. The company launches in Kenya in 2021 and just raised $1 million in pre-seed funding.
“ShopZetu aims to be the leading lifestyle platform. We want to expand our beauty, skin care, hair and home decor products, which are expressions of personal identity. We want to be a one-stop shop.” Marvin KillagoCEO of ShopZetu, co-founded the startup Vandya Gichuruand co-founder of the popular Kenyan fashion brand in vivo.
The pre-seed round was led by Chui Ventures, with participation from Launch Africa, Roselake Ventures and Logos Ventures. Angel investors participating in the round include Kendall Tang, CEO, RT Knits; Ben Munoz, Co-Founder and CEO, Nadine West; Sumit Bhasin, The Estée Lauder Companies; Patricia Ithau, CEO, WPP Scangroup and Co-Founder and CEO, Twiga Foods CEO Peter Njonjo.
Kiragu told TechCrunch that ShopZetu was born out of a need for a multi-brand marketplace to bridge a highly fragmented industry with “hundreds of thousands of sellers” both offline and online, including Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp. He noted that this made the shopping process cumbersome, lacking price visibility and customer trust.
He added that the infinite number of possible inventory units makes it nearly impossible for any one player to stock available varieties under one physical location.
“ShopZetu tries to solve this problem by bringing together the available supply of fashion and lifestyle products under one roof,” he said.
ShopZetu has more than 300 suppliers, mainly composed of local large and small manufacturers and imported fashion product traders, currently listing more than 20,000 products on the ShopZetu marketplace. Vendor onboarding is free, however, they pay commissions for sales generated on the platform, as well as other additional services including delivery.
“We also provide suppliers with various services such as content, digital marketing, warehousing, last-mile delivery and returns management. These services are provided for a fee, but most are subsidized to ensure suppliers’ success online. ’ said Kiragu.
“Our goal is to lower the barrier of entry for anyone to leverage ShopZetu’s reach and resources to start and scale a fashion brand. We have great case studies of brands that were incubated and launched on ShopZetu, then went on to scale online and build bricks and mortar, “He said.
The startup requires suppliers to sell on the marketplace to have sufficient inventory, high-quality products and inclusive sizes, among other things.
The startup said it has served more than 30,000 customers in the past two years, sold more than 100,000 products, and has seen monthly order growth of more than 400% since January 2021.
ShopZetu said it was eyeing the growing fashion industry in sub-Saharan Africa, which is currently dominated by second-hand clothing. Startups like ShopZetu, however, are pinning their growth on new affordable clothing options and Africa’s growing fashion-conscious and tech-savvy population.
“We believe there is a huge market for fashion because clothing is a basic human need. While a large portion of this is currently provided by second-hand clothing, as more affordable options enter the market, we see people gradually switching to new clothing,” Kira ancient said.
“We believe online fashion retail will overtake formal retail to become the largest e-commerce category in Africa.”