Rwanda-based Kasha, an e-commerce platform for women’s health, hygiene, and self-care products, has raised USD 1 Mn from Finnish development financier, Finnfund.
Kasha improves women’s access to self-care products in East Africa. The platform was founded in 2016 by two foreign nationals, Joanna Bichsel and Amanda Arch, who are both former employees at Microsoft Corporation.
After starting out in Rwanda, the startup has since expanded into East African neighbors, Kenya. The startup claims to have served over 55,000 clients since inception, of which 75 percent are low-income individuals and also delivered close to 600, 000 products out of which 275,000+ are health products.
“We are a very purpose-driven company with a strong focus on our customers. We deliver the products that women actually want and need in a way that is most private and discreet for them”, says Kasha’s CEO, Joanna Bichsel.
“What drives us is that we can change the way women in emerging markets get their health products. Partnering with Finnfund, we look forward to growing our presence in Rwanda and Kenya as well as expanding to other countries in Africa – and eventually to other parts of the world.”
The company sells menstrual care products, contraceptives, pharmaceuticals and a range of beauty products via its own platform, accessible through basic phones and a website and delivered to customers confidentially.
Kasha claims to be a trusted source of information especially around stigmatised products and operates in close cooperation with selected health partners.
In the funding announcement, Finnfund revealed it started negotiations with Kasha in February 2020. “We were convinced by their strong mission and at the same time, we see that e-commerce is rapidly growing its share of consumer spending”, says Finnfund’s Investment Manager, Johanna Raehalme.
“During the investment process, Kasha’s role has become more relevant than ever: At the moment, they are preparing for an active role in protecting people from COVID-19”, says Raehalme.
Finnfund says it is poised to launch a partnership with Kasha and support the company in developing the environmental and social policies to meet international benchmarks even when scaling up the business.
The Finnish funder also says it is committed to investing 105 million euros in businesses that advance gender equality during 2019-2021.