Daba backs Senegal’s Lengo AI in pre-seed round
4 min Read October 5, 2023 at 10:55 AM UTC
Both institutional and retail investors were able to participate via Daba’s novel unified investment platform to support Africa’s first AI operating system for FMCGs.
Daba Finance, a startup that enables investing in Africa’s best private and public companies seamlessly, has participated in a recently closed pre-seed fundraising round by Senegal-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup Lengo. Both institutional and retail investors were able to participate via Daba’s novel unified investment platform.
Daba was launched in 2021 with a simple mission—to democratize investing in Africa by providing a barrier-free way for investors (of every level) to access curated investment strategies and build wealth by investing in the African private and public capital markets, through its all-in-one platform.
What is Lengo?
Founded in 2021, Lengo is an AI platform that offers an extensive database and insights on consumer goods for companies in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector in Africa.
Lengo taps into the vast network of corner shops that account for 90% of purchases across the continent, operating as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution and combines the efforts of field agents known as Lengo Eagles and AI to deliver real-time product sales performance data, connecting retailers and FMCG companies.
The startup currently provides insights on more than 2,000 products, has mapped close to 30,000 shops, and more than 25 CPG companies use its monthly platform to “stop guessing Africa” and know where to win on the continent.
Why we backed Lengo
Africa is expected to account for up to 40% of the human population by the end of the 21st century with the FMCG market positioned to emerge as its first globally relevant industrial sector.
As the demand for packaged food, beverages, personal care products, and household items surges, multinational companies are expanding their presence and local players are emerging. But they need help with infrastructure limitations and a dearth of data on consumer preferences, market trends, and supply chain dynamics.
Lengo solves the latter problem by leveraging AI and is poised to capture a major market share in an industry that accounted for two-thirds of Africa’s $1.4 trillion retail spending in 2016 and is expected to grow even further—driven by rising middle-class incomes and urbanization.
The founding team includes Max Smith (CEO), with extensive experience in sales and market research across Africa, Roger Xavier Macia (CCO), former CCO at Jumia in Senegal, and Ismaila Seck (CTO), a veteran of Senegal’s AI community with a PhD in machine and deep learning.
“Daba is proud to partner with Lengo on further scaling its robust solution that caters to the crucial needs of the fast-growing consumer goods market,” said Boum III Jr., co-founder and CEO of Daba. “We are even more determined to assist a greater number of investors in supporting such companies and viable startups in overcoming obstacles to secure capital.”
Other participating investors
The pre-seed round was co-led by Ventures Platform and Acasia and also saw participation from other leading VCs in Africa including P1 Ventures, Launch Africa, Voltron Capital, Super Capital, and Atlantis Ventures.
With the pre-seed round closed, Lengo plans to use the new funding to develop the AI portion of its product to connect with stores at scale, improve user experience and real-time analytics on its platform for CPGs, and grow its coverage across several new cities in Africa.
To drive this ambition, the startup plans to recruit more talent, with a priority on AI/software engineers and product managers ready to build in Africa.
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