“We are changing the Egyptian consumer habit of buying fashion online.” Mohamed Rizk, co-founder of Egyptian e-commerce platform Brantu, encapsulates the core mission of his firm in this single statement. Launched in July 2019 by Mohamed Rizk and Fredrik Granström, Brantu is a mobile-first fashion platform that enables local and global fashion brands to reach Egyptian consumers without the hassles of extended delivery time and additional costs that are often typical of international, cross-border websites. “Egypt has a large population of approximately 100 million with very limited options,” explains Rizk. “When locals order from abroad, the orders tend to take between three to six weeks, and there’s the unknown additional amount to customers and taxes, and returns are challenging as well. Brantu is the first fashion platform in Egypt to deliver in three days and offers free return.”
But in addition to international fashion brands, the platform is also turning out to be an important medium for homegrown Egyptian brands to better reach out to the country’s consumers- Dalydress, Premoda, Ravin, and Dejavu are just some of the local fashion names to have been featured on Brantu so far. With the ongoing COVID-19 crisis catalyzing the move towards e-commerce, and an increased consumer demand for faster and safer online shopping, Brantu is keen on positioning itself as a “fashion pure player.” Additionally, with aims to acquire greater market share in women’s online fashion, and eventually kickstart beauty and men’s fashion verticals, the founders appear to have quite a clear-cut plan for the future of Brantu.
These goals seemed even more within reach when the firm very recently raised an undisclosed Series A round led by Sawari Ventures, a Cairo-based investment management firm that provides foreign investments to entrepreneurs in the MENA region. Asked about why the firm had decided to invest in Brantu, Sawari Ventures Partner, Wael Amin, said that in addition to the aforementioned aspect of increased growth in fashion e-commerce, factors such as sustained performance and a talented team added to their decision-making. “Brantu has managed to continuously outperform in a value and volume basis while also attracting a great set of international and local brands to its platform,” he notes. “We have complete faith in its ability to continue to take advantage of shoppers’ behavioral shift and migration through their continued efforts to offer shoppers fresh, affordable and beautiful apparel via a sleek and seamless platform and a soon-to-be-released mobile application.”
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With preparations for the mobile app already in works, and promises of speedy delivery and trendy products to the consumers established, the founders believe Brantu is an ideal platform for more fashion brands to join. “Brands choose Brantu for volume growth, the plug and play models via marketplace, consignment and wholesale, and the customer insights the platform provides helping brands understand their product performance,” explains Rizk. Having managed to acquire over 20,000 users in their first year with limited funding, the Brantu founders remain optimistic about what is to come. With more capital under its belt, this will be an e-commerce platform to look out for in the months to come.
‘Trep Talk: Brantu co-founder Mohamed Rizk shares tips for raising capital
1. Hustle, hustle, hustle “Approach as many VCs as possible.”
2. Pitch solo, engage all “The first pitch is always sensitive. When you pitch the first time, pitch solo, to avoid confusion like, “Who does what?” or statement contradictions. When you engage in the deal, engage the full team to show your team is capable.
3. Communicate consistently “Keep the investors excited about you by sending them a monthly newsletter.”
4. Ask smartly “Do not set the value of your company; rather, [focus on] the percentage that you are willing to give out, and the money you want to raise.”
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