MarketForce, a B2B platform for retail distribution of consumer goods, and digital financial services in Africa, has announced the closing of a $40 million Series A. This is the largest Series A round of its kind in East and Central Africa, and comes only 7 months after the Nairobi-headquartered platform concluded its pre-Series A round.
The funding round was led by V8 Capital Partners which is a London and Lagos based African-focused investment vehicle. Ten13 VC, SOSV Select Fund, Vu Ventures, Vastly Valuable Ventures, Uncovered Fund, Reflect Ventures, Greenhouse Capital, Century Oak Capital and Remapped Ventures participated.
Ken Njoroge, Cofounder and former CEO of Cellulant also participated in the round and joins the board as Chairman. The oversubscribed round was made up of equity and debt.
MarketForce was co-founded by Tesh Mbaaby and Mesongo Sibuti in 2018. It is now a leading B2B commerce and fintech platform that empowers informal merchants in Africa to:
- order, pay and receive inventory digitally and conveniently
- access financing
- collect digital payments and
- make money by reselling digital financial services such as airtime, electricity tokens and bill payments.
MarketForce is operational in 5 markets including Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda with a merchant Super App called RejaReja. This app offers informal merchants next-day delivery for hundreds of KSUs from leading FMCG brands.
In sub-Saharan Africa, approximately 90% of household retail transactions are in cash, and delivered through a network of about 100 million MSMEs. Retail payments on the continent are expected to top $2.1 trillion by 2025, and MarketForce aims to digitize a large portion of these offline transactions.
“Our goal is be the ultimate partner for informal merchants, empowering them to maximize their profits and grow in a digital age by getting better service, assortment, and access to new revenue opportunities, outfitting them with the technology and support they need to transform themselves from simple FMCG outlets to comprehensive financial service hubs for the continent’s last-mile communities,” said Tesh Mbaabu, Cofounder and CEO of MarketForce. “We are targeting to serve over 1 million active merchants on our platform in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025.”
“The MarketForce team has demonstrated their ability to build a differentiated, powerful and all-inclusive digital commerce platform for merchants in Africa. We are proud to partner and build the future of retail in Africa by helping to optimize supply chains and catalyze the digitization of the African retail ecosystem, which holds a lot of untapped potential to improve incomes and enable millions of African merchants to grow their businesses,” said Tobi Oke, General Partner at V8 Capital and member of the MarketForce board.