Kenya’s Sokowatch secures $125m Series B, rebrands to Wasoko

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Kenyan startup Sokowatch, an e-commerce company leveraging technology to transform the informal retail supply chain, has closed a US$125 million Series B equity round, while also rebranding to Wasoko and launching operations in West Africa.

Launched in 2016, Sokowatch provides free same-day delivery of essential goods and financing to informal retail stores across Africa. The platform enables retailers to order products at any time via SMS or mobile app and receive delivery through its proprietary logistics network to their store. 

Now known as Wasoko, the startup has delivered 2.5 million orders to over 50,000 informal retailers across Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Ivory Coast, and Senegal with revenue growth over the past 12 months at over 500 per cent. It is now targeting further expansion and growth after banking a US$125 million Series B round.

The round is led by Tiger Global, the world’s largest venture capital firm, and Avenir Growth Capital, and also includes participation from a host of leading names including VNV Global, Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal and Udaan co-founder Sujeet Kumar. Existing investors Quona Capital, 4DX Ventures and JAM Fund are also featured.

Alongside the new funding, Sokowatch has also officially launched in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and Dakar, Senegal, the company’s first locations in West Africa. With its rapidly growing pan-African operations, the company has rebranded to Wasoko, which translates to “People of the Market” in Swahili. The new brand reinforces the company’s shift from its origins as a backend distribution software platform in East Africa to a public brand providing free delivery of essential goods and working capital financing to informal retailers across opposite ends of the African continent.

The new capital will enable Wasoko to drive further geographic expansion and product growth across the continent. The company is exploring expansion into Nigeria and Southern Africa, while continuing to consolidate its market-leading position across its six current countries. Wasoko is also examining opportunities to expand its product offering to verticals such as merchant point-of-sales systems, bill payments, and social commerce through both internal innovation as well as strategic investments and acquisitions of relevant companies.

“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,” said Daniel Yu, global CEO and founder of Wasoko.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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