Wasoko reportedly dispels Rwanda's exit, focuses on expansion

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April 29, 2024
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2 min read
Retailers who use Wasoko

The news: 

  • Wasoko, the Tiger Global and 4DX Venture-backed eCommerce platform has reportedly denied claims it has exited Rwanda over a month after shutting down its operations in Zanzibar and temporarily stopping business in Uganda and Zambia.
  • The Kenya-headquartered eCommerce platform disclosed to a news publication that, on the contrary, it’s hiring more personnel in Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya. 
  • Currently, the startup says it’s seeking partnerships and procurement associates in Rwanda and looking to fill three open roles, including procurement managers, in Kenya and four in Tanzania.

In a statement by Wasoko, contrary to the shutdown claims, the company says it just opened a new warehouse in Rwanda in November 2023 and is actively filling up the new positions to bolster its position within the country. 

Moreso, the B2B eCommerce marketplace noted that it has brought on new suppliers like Oxi, a detergent distributor, and Movit, a cosmetics manufacturer, for its Rwandan operations.

The eCommerce platform, which is still in merger talks with Egyptian MaxAB, another B2B eCommerce startup, said it’s expecting its first shipment of Egyptian products for distribution in Rwanda. 

As Wasoko plans to utilise MaxAB’s brand presence to expand its operations to the Northern African market, the oncoming shipments will be the company’s first step in its new Pan-African sourcing strategy.

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MaxAB currently operates in Egypt and Morocco, where it mainly connects retailers to beverage suppliers.

Wasoko, on the other hand, exited Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire in addition to Zanzibar, indicating that it’s mainly operational in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Although the merger is yet to be finalised, the two eCommerce startups are already combining their operations in Nairobi, Kenya. The full process is expected to take 12 months, and Wasoko and MaxAB are working to meet the timeframe.

Wasoko, which saw its valuation drop to $260 million the month it revealed the merger news, is facing a lawsuit from nine former staff over severance pay and stock options. 

To avoid a legal back and forth, Wasoko settled for a month’s salary. However, the ex-employees want to redeem shares at a fixed price in addition to severance pay for 12 months. May 9, 2024, is the date for the next hearing.

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