Sokowatch, a Kenya-based e-commerce startup, has raised $14 million Series A funding, to revamp its supply-chain market for informal retailers in Africa. Quona Capital led the financing round joined by Amplo, Breyer Capital, Vertex Ventures, Timon Capital, and 4DX Ventures.
The B2B company directly connects merchants to local and multinational suppliers, as well as digitizes orders, payments, and logistics. Above the demand and supply chain, Sokowatch also leverages historical purchasing data of retailers to provide credit and other financial services.
The company offers its services to over 15,000 small retailers across its operating markets. Daniel Yu founded Sokowatch in 2016, using Alibaba’s e-commerce model to reduce costs and increase the profit margin for retailers.
The company allows informal retailers to order goods from its platform via SMS, phone, and mobile apps. It uses its tricycles to deliver products to FMCG suppliers across Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Rwanda.
In 2018, it raised its first $2 million seed funding round and another $2.5 million from new and existing investors in February 2019. With this $14 million Series A, Sokowatch plans to grow its client services and target new African markets. Daniel Yu also revealed plans to use its infrastructure to begin business-to-consumer retail services.
In Africa today, the informal retail market is still lord over e-commerce ventures. According to a 2016 study by PWC, an estimated 90% of sales in Africa’s major economies were raised from informal channels, such as markets and kiosks.
Whereas platforms like Jumia and Konga are still struggling to earn the customer’s trust, Sokowatch focuses on developing solutions around the existing informal retail sector in Africa.
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