Business-to-business (B2B) commerce startup Marketforce raised $40 million in a Series A funding round to help the company grow its platform for retail distribution of consumer goods and digital financial services in Africa.
Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, Marketforce’s funding round was the largest Series A in East and Central Africa, according to a press release on Tuesday (Feb. 22). The oversubscribed round was made up of equity and debt. This funding comes seven months after a pre-Series A round.
The funding round was led by V8 Capital Partners, with participation from Ten13 VC, SOSV Select Fund, Vu Ventures, Vastly Valuable Ventures, Uncovered Fund, Reflect Ventures, Greenhouse Capital, Century Oak Capital and Remapped Ventures. Ken Njoroge, co-founder and former CEO of Cellulant, also participated in the round and joins the board as chairman.
Co-founded in 2018 by Tesh Mbaabu and Mesongo Sibuti, MarketForce operates a B2B commerce platform for merchants to source, order and pay for inventory, access finance and collect payments. Merchants can also use the platform to earn side income by reselling airtime, electricity tokens and bill payments.
“Our goal is to 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 Mbaabu, CEO of MarketForce.
“We are targeting to serve over 1 million active merchants on our platform in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025,” Mbaabu added.
The fresh infusion of capital will be used to offer buy now pay later (BNPL) to help merchants access fast-moving-consumer goods (FMCGs) on credit as well as expand further into existing markets. Marketforce is also planning to double its 400-strong workforce before the end of 2022.
MarketForce operates in Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda, offering its merchant super app called RejaReja, which offers informal merchants 24-hour delivery of hundreds of top FMCG brands.
The company has grown from serving 5,000 merchants last year to 100,000 now and processes 6,000 transactions every day.