Kenyan eCommerce startup, Sokowatch, raises $14 million series A to target new African markets

by | Feb 24, 2020

Sokowatch, the Kenyan business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce startup that enables informal retailers to order products and receive free same-day delivery to their store, has raised $14 million in series A funding.

Founded in 2013, Sokowatch developed business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce supply chains for retailers in Africa’s informal markets to connect with large FMCG suppliers like Unilever, and in the process, digitise their orders, payments and delivery-logistics.

Informal retailers can order their goods from Sokowatch’s online platform by SMS, phone or mobile application and the goods get delivered to the retailers by its fleet of vehicles, mostly three-wheeled tuk-tuks.

“We handle all of our last-mile logistics exclusively ourselves,” CEO, Daniel Yu said.

By aggregating orders for independent retailers and negotiating better prices from suppliers, Sokowatch generates revenues by taking a percentage off the savings it makes for its clients. After that, it collects client data and uses it to offer credit and other financial services.

This funding comes almost two years after the Nairobi-based startup closed a $2 million seed investment led by 4DX Ventures and an additional $2.5 million in February 2019.

This time, however, Quona Capital led the series A round, with 4DX Ventures participating. Vertex Ventures, Timon Capital, Breyer Capital, and Amplo also participated.

Having expanded within Kenya, and outside to Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda, Yu says Sokowatch now serves over 15,000 small retailers across these countries and plans to broaden its client services with this series A funding.

“We’re looking to build out the largest B2B e-commerce network across Africa,” Yu said.

Although the startup has plans to target new African markets, Sokowatch did not name the countries it has set its sights on, however, Wu said that the startup could begin to offer third-party logistics or sell online directly to African consumers.

Endlessly amused by technology. @ulonnaya

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