Is this Nigerian start-up about to overhaul Africa's $6 billion printing sector?

By mahlokoane percy ngwato

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Nigerian digital printing start-up Printivo has closed on seed financing from early-stage technology venture capital firm, EchoVC Partners. The investment will be used to broaden the company’s product range, increase headcount, accelerate customer acquisition and generally scale up operations.

Initially servicing Nigeria’s SME sector, Printivo is poised to become a major player in Nigeria’s $200 million print market, which has until now, had no credible online presence.

From $6 billion in 2011, the print industry on the African continent is currently estimated to grow to $9 billion annually by 2016, as businesses invest in design and print to keep up with African consumers’ increasing literacy, brand adoption, and demand for quality.

A self-styled ‘Vistaprint for Africa’, the company provides the only fully automated online print service for over 3,000 customers, providing local and international businesses with business cards, letterheads and notepads, and has seen year-on-year growth of 200 percent since its launch in 2014.

Market-wide challenges for Africa’s print industry have historically included the high cost of printing, lack of graphic designers, poor customer service and time-intensive ordering practices, making top quality printing all but unaffordable for the majority of small businesses. 

Olu’yomi Ojo, Printivo Co-Founder and CEO says, “Securing institutional seed financing means we can accelerate the growth of our online print services and community platform and achieve the ambitious targets we have set for ourselves, as we transform an industry that has, until now, lacked digital infrastructure, investment and innovation.

“We can now transition print from bricks and mortar ‘mom-and-pop’ stores that struggle to scale and meet quality requirements, to online ordering and direct delivery, while enabling job creation and distribution.

“We are in the process of removing the friction for companies that want access to great design, transparent pricing, high quality products and fast turnaround on orders. Simple, yes, but something local printers have historically been unable to provide.”

With revenues rapidly growing at 50 percent quarter-over-quarter, Printivo has secured contracts with leading global brands operating in Nigeria, including Google, Uber, Samsung, DHL and Etisalat.

After just one year of business, it has serviced over 3,000 customers and is currently on track to fulfilling 1,000 orders per month. The company is now clearly positioned to be the primary print outsourcing partner to the 17 million active Nigerian SMEs, with a goal to be the Pan-African e-print platform of choice.

Read the October Issue of African Business Review. 

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