Nigerian startup Taeillo raises funding to scale its online furniture e-commerce platform
Local furniture stores and global furniture retailers such as Ikea are both options for individuals or businesses looking to buy furniture in Africa. Both options have their pros and cons. For instance, local furniture stores might not be able to provide the quality clients require, while global furniture retailers can take several months to ship products to Africa.
TaeilloFounded in Lagos,, a startup that focuses on these issues via its online furniture ecommerce store, ‘expansion funding’ has been raised by Aruwa Capital. This fund is a Nigerian early-stage equity and gender-lens fund.
Taeillo stated that it was an alternative to customers who have to wait three-six months for furniture delivery. “… We offer customers aesthetically pleasing furniture pieces at half the importation price and a reduction in delivery times to approximately 4-8 weeks,” it said.
In 2018 it was founded Jumoke DadaThe online furniture seller sources local raw materials and makes furniture pieces. It sells individual customers and businesses furniture pieces. The company doubles as a retailer and manufacturer. It can be compared to Wayfair or now-defunct Made.com. It is a retailer and manufacturer, but it is a manufacturer. Serves a completely different marketTaeillo had to be authentic in its product offerings, by incorporating cultural elements (it refers them as Afrocentric furniture).
Dada created the platform with a sole focus on businesses when it was launched. Investors such as Montane Capital, CcHUB Growth Capital and B-Knight contributed $165,000 to the initial product. In mid-2020, Taeillo decided to go direct-to-consumer after several walk-in shops had closed.
CEO Dada stated that it was more or less like opportunity meeting preparation because many people were at home at the time and leading furniture brands weren’t online to serve them. “Traditional showrooms were also locked up, so that was an opportunity to position brands like ours and show that they can buy furniture online without having to go into showrooms.”
This was a great decision. Until its pivot, Taeillo had only sold 200 pieces of furniture in Nigeria. The launch of the “Amakisi table” was its pivot.N29,999/$85), a worktable and one of the company’s best-selling products. It quickly gained popularity and was sold over 1,000 times in six months. The online furniture retailer and manufacturer has since expanded into 10 new product categories, moved to Kenya, and shipped over 10,000 furniture pieces to more than 5,000 customers in both countries.
Taeillo received a $150,000 bridge round in 2021 from CcHUB Syndicate, doubling its revenue from the prior year. However, this growth and progress was not without its challenges. Taeillo’s furniture is very popular among the Nigerian millennial and working-class population. However, Taeillo has had difficulty meeting demand. On several occasions, it took months to deliver products. Although it is a well-known brand, it has not been able to meet the demand. While the startup manages its supply chain and produces about 70% of its products, it also relies on third party manufacturers who make components before they are shipped to Taeillo’s warehouse. Once assembled, they are shipped to customers. Dada claims that the company’s long wait times, which can see it produce as many as 800 pieces per month, are due to its relationship with third-party suppliers, including logistics services.
“Sometimes, it is necessary to deal with crude suppliers as a modern business. Recently, however, we had to change our suppliers in order to reduce the time it takes to get the materials. We’re currently looking at strategic partnerships with third party logistics companies and might establish a logistics arm for us to improve our deliveries.” The CEO spoke about how Taeillo plans on dealing with the long delivery times. However, he also admitted that the online furniture retailer and manufacturer could also improve its production processes.
Taeillo plans to reduce delivery times to three to five days with the funding. Instead of waiting for customers to place orders, Taeillo will pre-manufacture its most popular furniture (for example, the “Amakisi”) and start production immediately. The investment will also allow Taeillo to scale its “Pay with Flexi”, a product that allows customers to buy furniture and then pay in installments. It has been used by more than 200 people. The startup plans to market its augmented reality and VR (AR/VR), tech (powering virtual showrooms), and will double down marketing-wise.
“We’ve done a lot with very little. We now want to attract outstanding talent to take us to the next stage of growth. We want to increase market share, optimize operations and hack our supply chain, so we can ensure customers have a great shopping experience.” The chief executive of the online furniture retailer said. In 2021, the company had over $1 million in annual revenues.
Adesuwa OKunbo Rhodes, founder of sole investor Aruwa Capital and managing partner, stated that investing in Taeillo aligns to one of her investment objectives: supporting women-led startups. The three-year-old growth equity company, which is one among the few African-owned and managed, was founded last week. Closed Visa Foundation and other LPs will invest in 10 startups in fintech, healthcare and essential consumer goods for the female population. The fund is estimated to be worth $20 million
“In accordance with Aruwa’s gender lens investing strategy Taeillo was founded and led by a female and has a half-female management team,” she stated in a statement. “… [Taeillo] It has kept its innovative model in a traditional brick and mortar industry, creating a unique value proposition to its customers in a fast growing, underserved market. Taeillo leverages technology in its value-chain to achieve exponential growth in under two years. This is a feat that traditional furniture companies take decades to achieve.
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.