Kenyan social-ecommerce platform, Tushop which allows people to buy fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs), has raised $3 million in pre-seed funding to enlarge its team, enhance its platform and expand across Kenya.
The seed round was led by 4DX Ventures, with participation from JAM Fund, Breyer Capital, Chandaria Capital, TO Ventures, FirstCheck Africa, and DFS Lab. Kenyan retail tech startup, Wasoko (formerly Sokowatch) equally joined to make its first strategic institutional investment in the oversubscribed round.
The oversubscribed round included additional participation from several angel investors including Olugbenga “GB” Agboola (CEO, Flutterwave), Raja Kaul (Logos Ventures), Eli Pollak (CEO, Apollo Agriculture), and Ida Mannoh (CEO, Apollo Agriculture).
The fund will help Tushopto increase its personnel, invest in technology to make its platform as user-friendly as possible, and expand further across Nairobi.
Cathy Chepkemboi, a former employee of Unilever [Kenya and the United Kingdom], founded Tushop in 2021. The platform relies on community leaders to gather orders from their neighbors and assist with last-mile delivery.
According to her, she noticed the fragmentation in Kenya’s retail industry for the first time while working for Unilever – Kenya, and those logistics were one of the difficulties that contributed to the country’s high cost of vital commodities.
“Tushop is unique in this market because we know the customer – we are our own customers! We have grown up experiencing the problem of unaffordable food on the one hand and the need to have additional ‘side hustles’ on the other because of persistently low incomes,” Cathy Chepkemboi, Founder & CEO of Tushop, said. “We also have first-hand experience of the difficulties manufacturers face when moving goods through a fragmented supply chain, which creates distance between them and the customers they serve. We are therefore hyper-focused on delivering a superior experience for suppliers, ‘side-hustling’ Community Leaders, as well as our end-customers in an integrated manner.”
“We are stoked to be working with some of the leading investors globally and locally who understand the African space from a logistics, tech, and payments perspective, and look forward to justifying their faith in us with future growth, commercial success, and meaningful social impact. Wasoko’s investment in us is also a validating signal of the work we’ve done so far and we look forward to working closely with them to scale Tushop.” Chepkemboi said.
Tushop is one of Kenya’s earliest social commerce websites, sourcing items directly from producers and delivering them to clients, including fresh fruit. Although community group-buying is still in its early stages, Tushop’s business model holds a lot of promise thanks to the African communal lifestyle. For instance –, Kenyans spend 46 percent of their income on food, compared to 22 percent in China, 16 percent in Brazil, and 6 percent in the United States. Each year, Africans spend $260 billion on food. Traditional methods such as purchasing at dukas, open-air marketplaces, or wholesalers are less convenient and more expensive when compared to community group buying.
Tushop empowers community leaders with a virtual shop where residents can place orders, which then aggregate for bulk purchases from manufacturers and farmers, then deliver them door-to-door to the locals.
Even with the brokers collecting sales fees, Chepkemboi claims that this structure saves shoppers up to 60%.
Commenting on the round, Peter Orth, Managing Partner at 4DX explained why they invested in Tushop“We think that the market opportunity for Tushop is incredibly large and that Cathy is the right founder to go after it given her deep understanding of the market, and impressive execution and growth thus far. We’re thrilled to join such a strong team of other investors and advisors to help Tushop become the dominant player in group-buying across Africa.”
Daniel Yu, CEO of Wasoko expressed delight in the partnership, “It has been great witnessing Tushop’s incredible growth, driven by strong leadership and a team that embodies a true understanding of consumers and their communities. We are excited to work with a team that shares our vision of affordability and equitable distribution of goods across Africa.”