Jamaican firm provides US$1.4 million in seed funding
By Durrant Pate
Caribshopper, a Miami-based online marketplace for Caribbean-made products is now partly owned by Jamaican equity outfit, Delta Capital Partners, which was established in June this year with the promise of being a force in the Caribbean investment space.
Delta Partners has provided US$1.4 million in seed funding for Caribshopper in return for a 25 per cent equity stake in the company, which provides a digital marketplace for purchasing Caribbean-made products. The investment by Delta Capital comes shortly after Caribshopper’s soft launch on October 15 in which the company rolled out its e-commerce solution that gives manufacturers throughout the Caribbean region a platform to successfully sell their products internationally.
After a beta test phase that began in May, Caribshopper is now open to any customer seeking Caribbean-made goods from more than 200 Jamaican merchants on the platform. Prior to its official launch, more than 130 products were sold on the platform with an average ship time of about three days for U.S. buyers.
‘THE AMAZON OF THE CARIBBEAN’
Speaking with South Florida Business Journal, Delta Capital Executive Chairman Zachary Harding described Caribshopper as “the Amazon of the Caribbean” pointing to the vast market potential for the company, especially as it expands to other islands in the Caribbean. The Delta Capital boss, who sits on multiple trade and tourism boards in the Caribbean, including the Jamaica Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association, articulated the many positive spin-offs for Jamaican manufacturers and their Caribbean counterparts.
Harding made the point that the platform could boost exports to the islands at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has reduced tourism dollars to the Caribbean, citing the immediate plans for Caribshopper to launch in Trinidad and Tobago before Black Friday two weeks from now.
Caribshopper founder Kadion Preston expects to raise more finances before the end of the year and intends to close out the company’s seed funding at US$2.2 million by November 15.
To date, Caribshopper has secured US$1.55 million in total funding from which the online e-commerce outfit has been able to execute on a lot of its plans, including assisting merchants with marketing while helping manufacturers in the region to grow their customer base. Earlier this year, Trinidad-based digital payment company, WiPay, took an equity stake in Caribshopper, as part of a strategic alliance.
The partnership brings together e-commerce and a digital payment platform to transact commerce internationally, at the click of button. WiPay, which has a presence throughout the Caribbean, including an office in Jamaica, did not disclose the amounted invested nor its equity stake in Caribshopper. However, the two companies promised that, with their strategic alliance, online shopping in the Caribbean will be made easier. WiPay simplifies e-commerce and is at the forefront of digital e-commerce, allowing anyone connected to the Internet to move money quickly, safely and easily for both banked and unbanked users.