Kenyan retail startup MarketForce raises US$2m series A funding round, eyes Nigerian market

KENYA – Kenyan retail-tech startup MarketForce, has undertaken a Series A funding round, raising US$2 million to scale up operations.

Existing investors such as P1 Ventures and Y Combinator, as well as new investors such as Launch Africa, V8 Capital, Future Africa, GreenHouse Capital, Rebel Fund, Remapped Ventures, and other undisclosed angel investors, participated in this round.

MarketForce, enables consumer brands to optimize how they deliver essential goods and services to retailers and consumers by bridging the information gap in last mile distribution, while maximizing efficiency across the sales and distribution value chain.

The startup’s platform leverages mobile devices by enabling field agents to record all customer interactions as they happen in the field, and then aggregates this data and presents it through live web dashboards.

To further expand its offering, MarketForce launched a new platform dubbed RejaReja, a B2B e-commerce marketplace for merchants in December 2020, enabling informal retailers buy and sell FMCGs and digital financial services.

The new subsidiary operates an asset-light approach in which it does not own capital assets and provides next-day delivery services.

According to reports by Afrikan Heroes, over 15,000 retail clients already utilize RejaReja to handle thousands of orders every day in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, where the firm has a presence.

“Our goal is to create income growth opportunities for a million retailers and independent sales agents across Africa within the next five years.”

Tesh Mbaabu Co-Founder MarketForce

MarketForce intends to use the newly raised funds to launch RejaReja in more East African cities and set base in Nigeria.

“We are seeing significant demand for our radically improved way for companies to distribute their goods and services in Africa, and we’re thrilled to get a boost from returning and new investors at this crucial time.

“The combination of our technology with the offline distribution network that we are building is essential to creating maximum output and impact in African retail distribution.

“Our goal is to create income growth opportunities for a million retailers and independent sales agents across Africa within the next five years,” said Tesh Mbaabu Co-Founder MarketForce

Investors are said to have cashed in on this round as similar products such as RejaReja have already graced the African market i.e., TradeDepot and Sokowatch, which have gained traction.

Tobi Oke, Managing partner at V8 Capital Partners, said he was glad to be backing MarketForce, citing its ability to build a differentiated, powerful and all-inclusive digital commerce platform for informal retailers in Africa.

“Similar to Paystack, another successful African YC company who targets merchants selling online, RejaReja targets the millions of underserved informal merchants who are still offline when it comes to business automation and payments,” he said.

The startup’s membership in the Y Combinator Summer 2020 Batch has also served as a crucial fundraising reference point.

Following its acceptance into the program, MarketForce360 got US$150,000 from the US-based accelerator.

The validation from Y Combinator came after ViKtoria Business Angels Network (VBAN) had previously invested US$350,000 in the firm. EchoVC Partners, P1 Ventures, and Ventures Platform also joined the network at the time.

Last month, MarketForce announced the strategic acquisition of Digiduka, which it says was a “huge fintech step forward” for its RejaReja platform, which now provides a wallet that allows retailers to collect mobile money and bank payments via mobile app, WhatsApp bot or USSD shortcode.

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