The seed funding round was led by venture capital firm Benchstrength and included participation from investors Techstars, Black Tech Nation Ventures and Slauson and Co.

The capital injection will aid the company’s pivot from being an e-commerce site specialised in selling fashion from African brands and those with diasporic roots to global consumers to being a business-to-business venture helping emerging brands enter US retailers.

“[Brands] would come to me for advice on how to expand their footprint, how to get a loan or how to recruit talent on this side of the world,” said Amira Rasool, founder and chief executive of The Folklore. “As a small company, we can’t do two big things and be successful. So, we decided to focus on the B2B route so that we can make a larger impact on our brands.”

As part of the company’s new direction, The Folklore Group will integrate The Folklore Connect, a wholesale management software and marketplace that it launched in 2022 to help connect brands to partner retailers such as Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman. The business is also launching a talent recruiting platform, a service enabling brands to apply for purchase order financing and open lines of credit, and a resource centre for entrepreneurs.

Founded in 2018, New York City-based The Folklore’s latest investment brings its total fundraising to $6.2 million, having raised 2.8 million across two pre-seed rounds.

Learn more:

Africa’s $20 Billion E-Commerce Opportunity

The pandemic shone a spotlight on African e-commerce giants like Jumia, Konga and Takealot but now there is a race to become the fashion gateway for the continent. Which specialist etailer will win?

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