Tunisian B2B e-commerce startup Kamioun aims to become the leading mobile platform for corner shops, helping them simplify replenishment processes as a stepping stone into other aspects of business digitisation.
Kamioun in its current form was formed as a pivot from a previous idea during the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, and is essentially a digital wholesaler that makes money by selling goods with a margin on top of the buying price.
“We manage the whole order lifecycle, but do not own the vehicles and use a warehousing partner for the storage and the order processing,” said Fares Belghith, the startup’s founder and CEO.
“We are also working on additional verticals such as a POS tool for corner shops to help them manage their inventory and sales, and on payment solutions.”
Belghith said Kamioun believed corner shops were an integral part of the social fabric in Tunisia, and in so many other countries in Africa.
“We think that they need to remain, and we need to help them prosper and thrive in this new economy,” he said. “That is why we are committed to helping them be at the centre of their communities again, with tools such as our platform that ensure their longevity. Our vision is centred around making retail easier and more convenient in Africa.”
In Tunisia, Kamioun is competing against a complex set of wholesalers, distribution companies and travelling salesmen, which mostly operate offline and organise visits per zone through cash vans trying to sell their products.
“It is a seller’s market where the supplier pushes inventory to corner shops. In rare occurrences agents on bikes move around and do pre-sales but that model is still not widespread,” said Belghith.
“We do the reverse. Corner shops order on-demand and we deliver based on their needs.”
Kamioun has raised about US$600,000 from VCs and business angels, and about US$100,000 worth of grants, which has helped it establish a decently-sized early customer base. It has hundreds of monthly active customers, which is increasing by 10 per cent monthly. It hopes to launch in Algeria soon, as well as other markets, but that will depend on funding.
“We are actively raising, but this space is currently looked upon with scepticism as large players have been struggling to make their unit economics work. This is also why we are having great conversations on the ongoing raise, as suddenly our frugality and great unit economics are becoming attractive,” said Belghith.