Egypt's MaxAB raises MENA's largest seed round to optimise B2B e-grocery supply chain
Priya Wadhwa
What's the Deal

Egypt's MaxAB raises MENA's largest seed round to optimise B2B e-grocery supply chain

Cutting out the fragmented middlemen with technology.

Cairo-based MaxAB has raised $6.2M, taking top slot as the largest seed round ever raised in the MENA region.

The round was co-led by Beco Capital, 4DX Ventures and Endure Capital with the participation of 500 Startups, Outlierz Ventures as well as other local investors.

Founded in 2018 by Belal El-Megharbel and Mohamed Ben Halim, MaxAB was born from a simple insight: 90% of the grocery market is served through thousands of small grocery shops in the country, while giant supermarkets only capture 10%. Moreover, the supply chain for these small-scale retailers is highly fragmented.

“Small shops in Cairo have to go through six or seven layers in between — the shipping, unboxing, determining product quality and setting base prices — and that’s what we’re fixing for them,” said Belal El-Megharbel to Techcrunch.

90% of Egypt's grocery market is served through small-scale retailers, who face a fragmented supply chain.

Essentially, El-Megharbel and Ben Halim are disrupting the traditional supply chain through multiple tech solutions, including platforms to manage procurement of goods as well as their delivery to retailers with the help of three apps: one for retail store owners, second for their delivery fleet of 60 trucks, and a third for customer support.

Furthermore, to combat unreliable suppliers and ensure its customers get the products they need, the startup stocks “just-in-case inventory” for a few days in advance. It deals in over 600 products.

The startup explained, “Brands using MaxAB have access to real-time demand monitoring and business intelligence tools, which improve end-to-end supply chain control, and better forecasting."

Retailers in remote and under-served areas will have access to a wide variety of products, the convenience of ordering stock online in addition to second-day deliveries not to mention the added benefit of access to credit facilities.
MaxAB claims to have a staff of 270, as well as 9,000 retailers using its app with 40,000 orders completed since its foundation in 2018, recording a 50% month-on-month growth.

With the seed round raised, MaxAB plans to grow its market share and operations, as well as provide its working-capital financing and data-analytics services to more retailers, thereby adding another stream of revenue.

While it does not have any plans to expand out of Egypt, it certainly plans to grow its operations within the country as well as strengthen its developer team to cater to the $45 billion market.

We are seeing multiple e-grocery platforms gain traction in the MENA region, however, most of them are B2C. MaxAB is unique, as it has found a gap in the larger, yet underserved and fragmented B2B market segment.