Growing African B2B e-commerce



Today we discuss:

  • Wasoko’s $125 Million Series B
  • $18 million financing from 4G Capital
  • The release of Onyeka Akumah from Farmcrowdy

Sokowatch, Now Wasoko, Raises $125M Series B

Judgement The African e-commerce industry through the lens of Jumia, it is possible to conclude that Africa is not ready for the industry. Even after improving earnings in the fourth quarter of 2021, its shares have not performed well.

However, when we look at players like TradeDepot and Omnibiz, we see a different story.

Interesting way, Wasoko, formerly Sokowatch, an African e-commerce platform, is also changing e-commerce history with its $125 million Series B round, one of the largest non-fintech startup funding rounds. The round was led by Tiger Global and Avenir Growth, with participation from VNV Global, 4DX Ventures and JAM Fund.

The $125m fundraise comes with an expansion beyond East Africa to West African countries – Ivory Coast and Senegal. The e-commerce startup also got a makeover, changing its name from Sokowatch to Wasoko, which means market people.

Since its launch in 2016, Wasokso fulfilled 2.5 million orders from over 50,000 informal retailers in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and other African countries where it operates.

The B2B model: Like TradeDepot, Alerzo, and other e-commerce startups that raised funds from 2021, B2B is the dominant model. Wasoko delivers the goods directly to retailers who sell to the end consumer.

While B2B looks like a working model for e-commerce in Africa, most retailers are informal and unregistered. This, along with a 26% Internet penetration remains crucial for the survival of e-commerce in Africa.

To solve this problem, Wasoko created an offline solution for its SMS retailers. While B2B continues to be the gold standard for e-commerce in Africa, only time will tell how sustainable it is.

The essentials inside: We had an exciting conversation about e-commerce on the Techpoint Africa Podcast. Get ready for some insightful listening today.

$18 million financing from 4G Capital

Kenyan fintech startup 4G Capital has raised $18m in a Series C funding round led by light rock.

What does 4G Capital do? By Tech Crunch, the startup grants loans to small businesses.

Founded in 2013 by British Army veteran Wayne Hennessy-Barrett, 4G Capital provides credit to informal businesses that do not have access to formal credit facilities.

However, the startup wants to start lending to bigger companies with this new funding. He will also increase his credit limit past $1,000 and extend his repayment period.

A touch of e-commerce: 4G Capital plans to roll out new products, including an app, later this year. This will allow their customers to sell on digital marketplaces and create access to other digital providers like delivery services.

Offline mode: Although 4G Capital is accessible online, it has physical branches that help it better connect with its customers.

According to Hennessy-Barrett, “I’ve always felt it’s important, especially for people who can be quite vulnerable, to have a personal touchpoint of interaction, which is then augmented by technology.”

The startup plans to create new loan products and lend to businesses in the agricultural value chain.

Onyeka Akumah’s Farmcrowdy release

Onyeka Akumah (Founder and former CEO, Farmcrowdy

Onyeka AkumahCEO and founder of Nigerian mobility startup, Treepz, has resigned as chairman of his previous startup farm crowd.

Akumah founded Farmcrowdy with Akindele Phillips, Temitope Omotolani, Christopher Abiodun and Ifeanyi Anazodo in 2016 to fund smallholder farmers across Nigeria.

So why does he come out? According to a company statement, Akumah’s five-year term as chairman had come to an end.

During Akumah’s time as CEO, the startup lifted a handset $2.4 million in grants, pre-seed and seed investments and raised $15 million for 25,000 farmers.

For a reminder on Farmcrowdy’s early days with Akumah, please read this: Inside the agritech conglomerate Farmcrowdy is building

In June 2021, Akumah announced his departure as CEO of the startup to focus on Treepz, formerly Plentywaka. After Akumah’s exit as CEO, Akinlade Philips took on the role. This new release means that Akumah no longer has any ties with Farmcrowdy going forward.

what i read

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  • Get rewarded for building technical skills in the Microsoft Spring Skills Challenge. Details here
  • Have you heard of the MTN Nigeria Graduate Trainee Program for Marketers? check it out.
  • Identitypass is recruiting. Discover the roles available
  • CarePay is looking for a Customer Success Officer and a Pricing List Coding Intern. Learn more and apply here and here
  • OnePipe is launching a writing challenge for Nigerian journalists. Three writers to win 1 million naira each. Apply here.
  • UN Women plans to select 60 interns from 10 African countries for coding courses. Find out the requirements and how to apply here
  • Applications are open for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa GNI Innovation Challenge. Learn more about the challenge and how apply here.

Bolu Abiodun

He’s a geek, Blockchain wannabe, and tech enthusiast.

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