Kenya's Sokowatch raises $125M in Series B as it rebrands to Wasoko to further expand across Africa

Kenya's Sokowatch raises $125M in Series B as it rebrands to Wasoko to further expand across Africa

Kenya-based B2B company, Sokowatch has raised $125 million in Series B round in full equity and rebranded to Wasoko. This funding is the largest funding round raised in Africa for a non-fintech startup.

The series round was led by Tiger Global and Avenir Growth and also had participating VNV Global, Quona Capital, 4DX Ventures, Golden Palm Investments, JAM Fund, Binny Bansal, Co-founder of Flipkart, and, Sujeet Kumar. Sujeet Kumar, who is the co-founder of the world’s largest B2B retail e-commerce company, Udaans, was appointed to its Board of Directors to provide strategic guidance for continued growth.

Sokowatch (now Wasoko) is Africa’s largest B2B e-commerce company that is proffering solutions to retail challenges on the continent by connecting retail shops and outlets to the digital economy. The name change “Wasoko”, which translates to “People of the Market” in Swahili to reinforce the company’s transition from a back-end distribution software platform in East Africa to a Pan-African brand that’s serving and empowering informal retailers.

Wasoko offers delivery on demand to shopkeepers, allowing users to order products via the mobile app or SMS, and receive same-day delivery to their retail shops for free. The company also, through its platform, offers market trends, business insights, and customized promotions to retailers and manufacturers.

Through Wasoko’s platform, informal retailers are able to order products at any time via SMS or mobile app for free same-day delivery to their stores. Image credit: Supplied.
Image source: Supplied

The company was launched by Daniel Yu in 2015 to address inefficient supply chains in retail businesses. As an asset-light platform, it serves as a marketplace for distributing FCMGs from suppliers to retailers. Wasoko has also expanded its market to Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire, in addition to Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Wasoko has since delivered 2.5 million orders to over 50,000 retailers across its market reach, with revenue growth of over 500% over the past 12 months. The company now has over 800 full-time employees across Africa, all of whom are shareholders in the company through its universal employee equity policy.

The recent funding would enable the company to continue its expansion to other African regions such as Nigeria and Southern Africa. It would also maximize product growth, exploring product offerings to verticals such as merchant point-of-sale systems, bill payments, and social commerce through internal innovation and strategic investments and acquisitions of relevant companies.

Daniel Yu, commenting on the funding said, “After more than six years building and constantly iterating on our operations, we are proud to have demonstrated the traction and quality of business required to raise funding from world-class investors. We’re fully focused on leveraging their strategic support to build one of the biggest e-commerce companies in the world and transform access to goods and services for African citizens across every corner of the continent.”