At a time when Africa’s e-commerce is at an all-time high, Kenya-headquartered e-commerce startup AfricaSokoni has concluded an angel round, raising USD 445 K from a European investor whose identity is being officially withheld.
Extended Seed Sound
In an electronic interview with WeeTracker, Ebrima Fatty (featured image), AfricaSokoni founder and CEO, said that the new raise is a part of the startup’s extended seed funding round. The angel investment will be used to consolidate the gains the company has made since its inception in August 2017. The raise will also be used to expand the e-marketplace’s product offerings as well as its customer base, as it looks to amplify its operations in Kenya.
AfricaSokoni, whose principal focus is on bringing African consumers together by harnessing the power of the internet, has raised USD 995 K across three funding rounds, excluding the recent angel investment. According to CrunchBase, the startup raised USD 300 K In October 2017 and an additional USD 250 K in June 2018. Being that the recent investment in an extension of the first two rounds, it’s likely that the funding is from the same investor.
Strong Foothold And Expansion
Ebrima Fatty told WeeTracker: “As you know, we have just been in the market for only a year. Our focus is to establish a strong foothold in our headquartered country (Kenya), make AfricaSokoni a household brand, and expand to other African markets”.
The revelation from the startup also pointed out that it’s currently building an essential component of its business model, which previously could not be started due to funding and strategy issues. “This will really make AfricaSokoni very different from any other online marketplace in Africa’s e-commerce ecosystem.”
In a Medium post, AfricaSokoni CEO said: “As an African focused market place, we provide a platform for African businesses and showcase their products to the global market. To the mass market, we provide a platform for African consumers and merchants/vendors to meet online for a seamless shopping experience. We make this experience more memorable using our 24-hour delivery policy within Nairobi and 48 hours outside Nairobi”.
In as much as there is some controversy with Jumia’s recent listing on the New York Stock Exchange – as to whether it is an African startup or not – AfricaSokoni recognizes that the listing of the African tech giant is evidence that e-commerce startups in the continent can plan and execute successful exits. “Hopefully this will increase the confidence of investors in the ecosystem. Although we should not lose track of the fact that this IPO has ignited a legitimate debate out there, as to whether Jumia is Indeed an African startup”, the company said.
In spite of the recent entry of many players into the online marketplace of Africa, the e-commerce sector is still young, with a litany of growth potential. “In my opinion, an issue that needs to be addressed by the players is the slow transition of the African consumers from the physical “brick and mortar stores” shopping to the virtual marketplace.
“This is evidenced by a big gap that exists between the internet penetration level in countries like Kenya and the number that engage in online shopping. Once this is addressed and the people become comfortable to shop online, we will witness a phenomenal growth in this sector”, Ebrima said.