27.4 C
Brisbane
Thursday, January 28, 2021

Sokowatch raises $14M to digitize Africa’s informal B2B supply-chain

Must read

Kenya urges South Sudan leaders to hasten the peace process

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday urged South Sudan leaders to expedite the implementation of the remaining aspects of the peace pact...

South Sudanese questioned Kiir’s Closing Remark at the just concluded Jonglei Peace conference

President Salva Kiir Mayardit has been known to be a very poor public speaker, his remark at the just concluded Jonglei Peace...

Biden has issued over 30 Executive Orders in his first five days in office.

President Joe Biden has signed a flurry of executive orders, actions, and memorandums aimed at rapidly addressing the coronavirus pandemic and dismantling many...

DITCH R-ARCIS, IMPLEMENT NATIONAL DIALOGUE RESOLUTIONS” JCE URGE IGAD

South Sudan’s Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) has called on the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) which, mediated the revitalized peace agreement...

TECHCRUNCH 24 FEB 2020

Kenya  based B2B e-commerce startup Sokowatch has raised $14 million in Series A funding toward its mission of revamping supply-chain markets for Africa’s informal retailers.

From Nairobi, the company has created a platform that connects merchants directly to local and multinational suppliers — such as Unilever  and Proctor and Gamble — and digitizes orders, payments and delivery-logistics.

Since launching in 2016, and raising a $2 million seed round in 2018, Sokowatch  has expanded within Kenya and into Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

With its Series A, the startup plans to broaden its client services — from working-capital to data-analytics — and target new African markets, according to CEO Daniel Yu.

Sokowatch also doesn’t rule out using its infrastructure to someday enter business-to-consumer online retail.

For the moment, the startup’s primary focus is to reduce costs and increase profit margins for small merchants.

“We’re looking to build out the largest B2B e-commerce network across Africa,” Yu told TechCrunch  on a call.

Informal retail is still king in Africa — even with the emergence of shopping malls and well-funded e-commerce ventures, such as Jumia.

The size and potential of the continent’s informal sector has captured the attention of economists and startups. GDP revisions in several African countries have revealed outdated statistical methods were missing billions of dollars in economic activity. And one estimate by The International Labor Organization places more than two-thirds of Sub-Saharan Africa’s non-agricultural employment in the informal economy.

On the number of shops in that space, a 2016 study by global consultancy PwC estimated 90% of sales in Africa’s major economies come through informal channels, such as markets and kiosks.

By Yu’s account, too many of Africa’s local merchants are sacrificing capital and incurring opportunity cost due to inefficient supply-chain.

Sokowatch is shifting that scenario, according to its CEO, and now serves over 15,000 small retailers across its operating areas.

“We…estimate that we save merchants at least 20% on supply-chain costs for the goods we supply,” said Yu.

Sokowatch App
Sokowatch offers retailers an app to order products from its partner suppliers and maintains a fleet of vehicles, primarily three-wheel tuk tuks, for delivery.

“We handle all of our last-mile logistics exclusively ourselves,” said Yu.

The startup is also generating additional enterprise services. “As part of the product we are developing other tools for merchants to directly manage other aspects of their business, especially when it comes inventory and overall sales,” said Yu.

The data analytics Sokowatch creates for clients is also opening up working-capital solutions.

“We’ve been able to use that data to offer in-kind credit lines to many shops that can’t gain it from banks,” said Yu.

Quona Capital led Sokowatch’s $14 million Series A round, joined by Amplo, Breyer Capital, Vertex Ventures, Timon Capital and repeat investor 4DX Ventures.

Kenya urges South Sudan leaders to hasten the peace process

0
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday urged South Sudan leaders to expedite the implementation of the remaining aspects of the peace pact...

South Sudanese questioned Kiir’s Closing Remark at the just concluded Jonglei...

0
President Salva Kiir Mayardit has been known to be a very poor public speaker, his remark at the just concluded Jonglei Peace...

More articles

Latest article

Kenya urges South Sudan leaders to hasten the peace process

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday urged South Sudan leaders to expedite the implementation of the remaining aspects of the peace pact...

South Sudanese questioned Kiir’s Closing Remark at the just concluded Jonglei Peace conference

President Salva Kiir Mayardit has been known to be a very poor public speaker, his remark at the just concluded Jonglei Peace...

Biden has issued over 30 Executive Orders in his first five days in office.

President Joe Biden has signed a flurry of executive orders, actions, and memorandums aimed at rapidly addressing the coronavirus pandemic and dismantling many...

DITCH R-ARCIS, IMPLEMENT NATIONAL DIALOGUE RESOLUTIONS” JCE URGE IGAD

South Sudan’s Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) has called on the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) which, mediated the revitalized peace agreement...

S. Sudan: Disinfectors distributed to all Primary & Secondary as Govt. plan to reopen all schools in April

The Government distributed disinfectors to all schools in preparation for the re-opening of all classes. This is to enable school children to...