Start-up of the week: with Janngo, Fatoumata Bâ wants to open up Africa
After years at Jumia, the 30-year-old Senegalese entrepreneur has just created Janngo, a start-up studio to facilitate, via the tech, the daily life of SMEs and African consumers. In May, the company obtained a fundraising of 1 million euros, which allowed it to create its very first platform.
Fatoumata Bâ has always been one step ahead. At age 9, she hacked her father’s computer, at age 11 she created her own email address and at 16, her very first website. The techie goes so fast that she is hard to catch. To convince its new partners, to promote and develop Janngo, its new start-up, the 30-year-old Senegalese e-merchant lives constantly between two planes with Paris and Abidjan as anchors. “I come from a nomadic ethnic group, I am Peule. Digital nomad is a slightly more modern version of nomadism, “she laughs.
And that’s saying that this figure of African tech is a nomad. After a baccalaureate in Togo, a business school and two years at Orange in Toulouse, Senegalese born founded the subsidiary of Jumia in Ivory Coast before taking the reins of the first African unicorn in Lagos, Nigeria. But Fatoumata Bâ has already left “her baby Jumia” aside, to devote herself “100%” to Janngo, which she calls the “premier social start-up studio” of the continent. “Choosing is giving up,” she says.
Janngo means “Tomorrow” in Fulani. “I always live with a sense of urgency. Africa today represents only 3% of the international market. But tomorrow, in thirty years, we will be 2 billion Africans, “she laments. These realities encouraged her to “embody this pragmatic revolution,” rather than “chaining conferences” or staying in her position as general manager of a growing business. “Thanks to technology, we can respond to concrete solutions such as market access for SMEs, access to essential products for African consumers, while creating direct and indirect jobs. With Janngo, we want to facilitate all this, thanks to tech “, proposes the one that wants to help priority young people and women – at the beginning of December, the company signed a framework agreement in this direction with the Côte d’Ivoire SME Agency, created in July 2018.
The company wants to be “neither an accelerator nor an incubator”, but “a start-up that launches others”. “With my team – we are less than fifteen at the moment – we want to create future champions from step zero.” Janngo is a hybrid concept since the company wants to support but also create on its side. Its business model is based, as for a traditional marketplace, on a commission made for each online shipping request.
In early December, Janngo launched its first digital platform in Ivory Coast named Jexport. Its principle: to allow local economic actors to export at the best price in the world and carriers to massify volumes, reduce their costs and optimize their transport capacity. “When you know that almost 50% of fruits and vegetables arrive half or completely rotten at the port, it is that there is a concern,” she says.
The Sillicon Valley, anything but a model
Junior consultant in France at the age of 24, Fatoumata Bâ can now compare the impact of digital on populations. “In France, when I was advising big companies, there was already a way of doing things, technology just made it possible to do things faster. In Africa, tech changes everything. These actors could not export their products without. ”
And the concept of the successful entrepreneur has hit home. In May, Fatoumata Bâ successfully raised € 1 million in seed funding from the Mulliez family’s business innovation division, which owns the Auchan hypermarkets, the European investment bank Clipperton, and Soeximex, a leader. import-export in West Africa.
After only seven months, Janngo seems on track. And Fatoumata Bâ – who remains very discreet about the turnover of his company – already imagines his future success. “In six months, I hope that I have launched a second platform, created hundreds of direct jobs, thousands of indirect jobs, that Jexport will have taken a step in another country, that I will have started to finance other actors, that African developers from African schools will work for us … “, she says.
“What’s next? As this addict to Anglicisms likes to say. “I lived in Nigeria, it’s the words that come to me, natural words from the world of start-ups,” she laughs. But for her, out of the question to erect the Sillicon Valley model. “It’s the heart of global tech where the only motivation is to be a unicorn. We do not care if we do not have a lot. Some unicorns and more antelopes or gazelles, that’s great too! ”