The demand for home and office furniture is simultaneously increasing, with the increase in population, the hybrid work model and innovation hubs. In West Africa, local manufacturers account for more than 70% of the furniture market.
Founded in 2018, Taeillo launched as a custom furniture designer serving its B2B clientele, however, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity for the company to serve B2C customers who needed locally manufactured high-quality, affordable, furniture pieces.
Taeillo launched the Amakisi table—worth ₦29,999/c. $85, to cater to the needs of remote workers during the pandemic. The company sold 1000 pieces of the Amakisi table within a "short period of time", to meet growing demands, the company added 10 new products and also expanded into East Africa.
Aruwa Capital Management (“Aruwa”)—an early-stage growth equity and gender lens fund investing in Nigeria and Ghana—has invested $2.5 million in the female-founded furniture manufacturing company, Taeillo.
"We are thrilled to announce this investment into Taeillo as it aligns with nearly all of our investment objectives. Since its inception, the Company has maintained its innovative model in a traditional brick-and-mortar industry, creating a unique value proposition for its customers in a fast-growing, underserved market," Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes, Founder & Managing Partner of Aruwa Capital, said in a statement shared with Benjamindada.com.
As a local manufacturer of "quality and affordable furniture pieces", Taeillo's solution is critical for the African continent where the alternative is to import bulky, expensive furniture from the United Kingdom, United States or China, incurring significant costs combined with an unstable exchange rate, and enduring long wait periods of 3-6 months before the furniture is delivered.
In 2018, the total furniture imports into Africa amounted to more than $5 billion. The ten main furniture-importing African countries are Angola, Morocco, Libya, Nigeria, Algeria, Kenya, Egypt, Ghana and Sudan—each of them importing over $100 million of furniture.
Taeillo is revolutionizing this space by providing locally manufactured well-designed, flat-pack furniture using raw materials sourced from Africa to provide customers with aesthetically pleasing furniture pieces at a fraction of the importation price and with a 50% reduction in delivery time to about 4-8 weeks.
According to Jumoke Dada, Founder & CEO of Taeillo: "This investment by Aruwa Capital will take us closer to our goal of becoming the IKEA of Africa by providing quality, ready-to-assemble, made-in-Africa furniture pieces at an affordable price point for the mass market, while also optimizing our operations, delivery time, and customer experience. We are grateful to the Aruwa Capital team for their belief in our vision."
Taeillo incorporated augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) technology into its e-commerce platform to enhance customers' shopping experiences in 2020. This creates an immersive experience on the website where customers can shuffle between materials, colours and furniture dimensions before buying.
Leveraging VR technology, the company is also able to rapidly expand across regions without incurring additional showroom costs, typical with traditional furniture businesses as they offer virtual showrooms to customers. Taeillo is now present in two African countries: Nigeria and Kenya, shipping c.10,000 pieces of furniture to over 5,000 customers in Nigeria and Kenya, with complete ownership of its value chain.
"By leveraging technology in its value chain, Taeillo has been able to achieve exponential growth in less than 2 years, achieving results that take traditional furniture companies decades to achieve. In line with Aruwa’s gender lens investing strategy, Taeillo is founded and led by a woman and has a 50% female representation in its management team. We are confident in the Company’s ability to scale across Africa and are thrilled to partner with the team for the exciting journey ahead," Adesuwa added.
Last week, Aruwa Capital announced that it has raised over $20 million from global institutional LPs to invest in African women-led businesses, targeting investments in critical sectors such as healthcare, fintech, renewable energy, and essential consumer goods.