Senegalese startup Kwely, a B2B wholesale distribution marketplace for “Made in Africa” products, has raised a US$1 million seed round of funding.
Founded by Birame Sock, a tech entrepreneur who successfully exited two startups in the US, Kwely was launched under the premise that “Made In Africa” products have a place on the global market and can help boost African exports, as well as the continent’s industrial sector.
The startup focuses on the development of existing and new brands with local suppliers in order to get to export-ready status, a proprietary platform to support B2B wholesale transactions on the global market, and a packaging studio to provide the services needed to deliver products that meet international standards.
Kwely has raised an additional US$700,000 in its seed round from WIC Capital, LoftyInc Capital Management, Haskè Ventures and other notable investors, completing the US$1 million round. It plans to raise its Series A round at the end of 2022.
As the company prepares to launch its digital platform and bring to market the various brands in its portfolio, this new round of funding will be used to support Kwely’s marketing and distribution efforts.
“Kwely is working to connect the dots between local African producers, global consumers and international buyers. Our goal is to be the leading African B2B e-commerce platform that redefines the perception of African products and the way African buyers and sellers transact with each other and the rest of the world,” said Birame Sock, founder and CEO at Kwely.
“We have seen the impact Alibaba has had on the informal industrial sector in China and believe that there is an opportunity in economies that are still driven by small businesses operating at the artisan level, to make Africa a major sourcing destination for international buyers.”
“The range of services offered by Kwely perfectly aligns with WIC Capital’s long-standing effort to foster the development of high-growth women-led SMEs – because efficient packaging has always been the missing link preventing our local producers from exporting and scaling their businesses to capture extra-continental markets,” said Evelyne Dioh, CEO of WIC Gestion, managing WIC Capital.