Badili, a Kenyan smartphone commerce startup, has raised $2.1 million in pre-seed funding to expand its operations in Africa; It is one of the fastest growing mobile phone markets in the world.
Venture Catalysts, V&R Africa, Grenfell holdings, and SOSV, participated in the round, as did family offices and investors from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and India.
Backed by the new funding, Badili plans to explore new growth opportunities in West Africa, where demand for affordable smartphones is expected to increase, though He has worked in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
“We are launching in Uganda and Tanzania and have established strong relationships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). In the next six months, we will visit several West African markets to achieve our feet in the door of some of the biggest markets in Africa,” said Rishabh Lawania (CEO), who co-founded the startup with Keshu Dubey (CTO) earlier this year.
Badili handles marketing and sales for major OEMs and mobile vendors and has recently signed partnerships with major brands such as Samsung. He buys equipment from individuals.
Lawania told TechCrunch that he launched the startup after realizing that remarketing in Kenya was not a viable and reliable industry, but there was a huge demand for traditional equipment.
“One of my former employees in Kenya was arrested for selling stolen phones, and I realized that most people can’t buy their old electronics because it’s just a gray market. market, it’s risky. That’s when Badili’s idea kicked in. I thought something had to change,” said Lawania, who is also the founder of Wee Media (parent company of WeeTracker media platform) and African tools.
Lawania said 60% of Badili’s customers are people upgrading from a device to a smartphone, adding that Badili devices cost less than half their original price.
“We’re providing people who don’t want to pay full price for a device, and I’m more than happy because we can help a lot of customers buy their first smartphone ,” said Lawania.
Affordability remains a key barrier to smartphone penetration, which is critical to powering Africa’s digital economy, while most countries across Africa including Kenya still have feature phones to the hand market. Recent data from the Communications Authority of Kenya indicates that as smartphone penetration deepens, the mobile market share is 55.1 percent.
Across Africa, the latest data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) shows that consumers opted for cheaper options as mobile shipments increased by 10.6% over the period Smartphone shipments fell by 7.9% in the second quarter due to rising inflation and a strong economic outlook.
While the report predicted that smart shipping will make a comeback, pricing and power sales will play a major role in smart entry into the country.
Additionally, Badili is targeting the refurbished and used mobile phone market, which is expected to reach $146 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 11% between this year and 2030 , partly driven by smartphone adoption in new countries.
Badili sells phones through its platform and has a network of stores and dealers across the country. It uses its price estimation algorithm, which takes into account various factors including the phone’s year and model, to calculate the phone’s value. Phones are refurbished, printed and resold with a one-year warranty.
Lawania said Badili takes the details, including ID and mugshot, of the customers, and also asks them to sign an affidavit stating that they are the rightful owners of the equipment. For further warning, he said, Badili has also set up a system to identify multiple customers.
He said he is preparing and enhancing the technology, systems, connections and networks needed to create Africa’s most reliable and largest consumer electronics market.