Powered by People startup secures US$5m seed fund to expand its global reach

KENYA – Powered by People (PBP), a Kenyan startup offering online tools and a B2B marketplace to the manufacturing and handmade sector, has secured US$5 million in seed funding to expand its global reach.

Susa Ventures and Golden Ventures led the equity funding round for PBP. Investors such as Flexport Ventures, J Ventures, and the founders of DraftKings and Fabric also participated.

The fund will enable the startup develop its technology to give more commendable results, getting accelerated growth and expanding its team of innovative minds.

Powered by People is on a mission to help independent, diverse makers and brands thrive by providing access to markets, financing, and digital tools. The company provides sustainable economic opportunities to its clientele by providing the global economic access they need.

Ella Peinovich, Hedvig Alexander and Alison Phillips founded Powered by People in 2019 on a foundation for emerging brands to access creative global economies.

Its innovative tech and financial solutions enable independent brands to easily upload and manufacture their wares, allowing retail buyers to seamlessly and confidently purchase distinct goods.

PBP works with over 200 brands and more than 45,000 artisans from 47 countries, who sell to retailers such as West Elm and The Citizenry, across major markets including in North America and Asia.

In the middle of this month, the company recorded an annual run rate of US$15 million in total gross merchandise value. Its expectations are fixed on increasing this to US$25 million before the end of 2022.

With an average order of US$1,200 on the platform, the startup also extends up to 50% advance financing to traders helping them quickly process customer orders. Its 120-day facility attracts a 5% interest rate.

The startup has already given out US$5.8 million in credit to traders and plans to issue an additional US$10 million before the end of the year.

Powered by People has its team members strategically located in the US, Canada, Kenya, India, Mexico, Turkey and the UK.

Last year March, Powered by People secured US$1.5 million seed funding to expand its team and rapidly grow its fintech platform for local retailers.

That funding round was led by DraftKings’ Matt Kalish, TBD Angels and impact investors, Good+Well. Other angel investors affiliated with DraftKings, Uber and Skillz also participated in the round.

Founded in 2019, PBP is leading the revolution of boutique manufacturing by offering a B2B marketplace for local SMEs in the creative manufacturing and handmade sector.

PBP’s mobile/web platform provides retailers with financing solutions including pricing and inventory management tools to optimize production schedules as well as track and receive payments.

PBP had joined Founders Factory Africa’s venture scale program in September 2020, securing an investment readiness support to fully launch into the e-retail space.

This saw the startup unveil PBP PRODUCE, a mobile-to-web production coordination tool which enabled over 5,000 local manufacturers to work from home during COVID restrictions.

PBP then grew its PBP FINANCE platform to unlock US$481,000 in purchase order financing.

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