Two Senegalese men sit around desk with computer

Senegalese tech company raises $500,000, after working with ITC

18 March 2024
ITC News

Dakar-based start-up ProXalys, which has built its success on the digitization of micro-merchants, is accelerating growth in Senegal and preparing for expansion in Côte d’Ivoire.

When they launched ProXalys in 2022, Thierno Sakho and Abdoulaye Faye's first aim was to bring small-scale agricultural producers and retailers closer together. They developed a digital solution that identifies available agricultural products and organizes last-mile delivery, without intermediaries.

Over time, the company's positioning moved away from logistics and towards software. The application took on new functionalities. Shopkeepers could not only organize their supplies, but also request deferred payment, keep accounts and assess their level of profitability.

Called ProBoutik, the application is above all a valuable tool for financial inclusion. It records and analyzes the merchant's cash flow and then calculates their level of financial solvency by assigning a score. The shopkeeper can then use this data to approach microfinance institutions to obtain credit more easily.

This is increasingly appealing to the informal sector, which has begun to modernize. ProBoutik now brings together nearly 8,000 merchants. By the end of the year, the tool is aiming to have 100,000 users.

Fundraising and international expansion

While ProXalys no longer has warehouses or a fleet of vehicles to maintain, it is looking to invest massively in its technology, data and artificial intelligence teams. The success of its recent fund-raising should enable it to expand its ranks and conquer the Ivorian market.

For the start-up, this decisive step towards internationalization required months of preparation, including work with the Senegal Tech project run by the Netherlands Trust Fund V (NTF V) at the International Trade Centre (ITC).

‘The NTF V project gave us access to two major events in the agricultural economy (SARA 2023) and the fintech industry (Next Fintech Forum) in Abidjan,’ Thierno Sakho said. ‘It was an opportunity for us to initiate partnerships and appreciate the potential for development in Côte d’Ivoire. Step by step, the NTF V project has also helped us to prepare our capital raising and through resolutely operational training.’

This support gave ProXalys the legitimacy it needed in the eyes of leading investors such as 216 Capital Ventures, Haske Ventures and Digital Africa, raising a total of $500,000 in early 2024.

ProXalys is one of 16 fintech start-ups in French-speaking Africa to have benefited from Digital Africa's Fuzé investment scheme.

‘The ambition of our investment fund is to strengthen the capacity of African digital entrepreneurs to design and deploy disruptive innovations on a large scale to serve the real economy,’ said Yann Azandegbe, Investment Associate for Digital Africa. ‘We were won over by the ProBoutik project because it brings the players in the agri-food chain closer together, while at the same time bringing traceability and modernization to the informal sector. This means more growth and jobs.’

Attentive to the need to surround itself with strategic partners likely to support its growth, ProXalys continues to forge ahead: as part of the NTF V project, the start-up recently met with the Octerra Capital fund, with whom a dialogue is currently underway.

About the programme

The Netherlands Trust Fund V (NTF) programme (July 2021 – June 2025) is based on a partnership between the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Trade Centre. NTF V supports SMEs in the digital technology and agribusiness sectors in Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Senegal and Uganda. Its ambition is to contribute to an inclusive and sustainable transformation of agri-food systems partly through digital solutions, to improve the international competitiveness of local tech start-ups and to support the implementation of the export strategy of IT&BPO companies.