MarketForce, a Kenyan retail and distribution company, has raised $40 million (Ksh.4.5 billion) in a Series A round of funding to expand across Africa and introduce credit services to its portfolio.
The startup has a presence in Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda and enables informal merchants to pay for orders made directly to manufacturers and wholesalers digitally through its RejaReja app.
Traders can also resell airtime, electricity tokens, and make bill payments to make some extra money. The app also allows them to apply for business loans.
“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,” MarketForce Co-founder and CEO Tesh Mbaabu said.
The funding is the largest Series A round in East and Central Africa and comes just seven months after the firm closed a Sh227 million ($2 million) pre-Series A deal.
The round was led by V8 Capital Partners with the participation of of Ten13 VC, SOSV Select Fund, Vu Ventures, Vastly Valuable Ventures, Uncovered Fund, alongside other existing investors.
The fresh capital will allow the company to develop buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) alternatives to assist dealers get items on credit, according to the company. It also intends to expand its presence in East and West Africa.
“We are targeting to serve over 1 million active merchants on our platform in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025.”
In the next months, the company hopes to grow its team to 800 people and increase the number of merchants on the RejaReja app to 250,000 from the current 100,000. The company claims it performs about 6,000 transactions daily.