Kenyan startup MarketForce, an end-to-end retail distribution platform for mainstream brands, announced the strategic acquisition of Digiduka, which aims to bring informal retailers in Africa into the digital economy.
Launched in 2018, Market force enables mainstream brands to optimize the way they deliver essential goods and services to retailers and consumers by bridging the information gap in last mile distribution, while maximizing efficiency throughout the sales and distribution value chain.
The startup’s platform leverages mobile devices by allowing field agents to record all interactions with customers as they occur in the field, then aggregate that data and present it. via live web dashboards.
Africa disturbance reported in May of last year that MarketForce had raised US $ 350,000 in seed funding to help it build on its current momentum, and in December it launched a B2B wholesale e-commerce marketplace named RejaReja. RejaReja has so far served over 12,000 informal retailers in Kenya, fulfilling over 75,000 orders.
Digiduka, meanwhile, was trained and funded during the inaugural cohort of the Antler program in Nairobi. The platform works with similar informal retailers, allowing them to earn extra cash by reselling digital services such as airtime, electricity tokens, and bill paying. Digiduka has since acquired more than 6,800 merchants in several major cities in Kenya and is on track to triple its user base and process more than $ 5 million in transactions through its platform in 2021.
MarketForce’s acquisition of Digiduka will see the two startups combine their offerings in search of a faster scale. The agreement accelerates the integration of financial services into RejaReja and consolidates two companies that share a common goal of providing an all-inclusive digital commerce platform for informal retailers in Africa. The whole Digiduka team joins MarketForce.
âOur team is excited to join forces with MarketForce and together seize this US $ 700 billion market opportunity. Despite the seemingly overwhelming success of mobile money in Kenya, 92% of retail payments for daily expenses are still made in cash, among informal retailers and low-income consumers. The opportunity to digitize a large portion of these transactions and expand working capital to these retailers is also largely untapped due to the perceived risk that MarketForce addresses by having reliable data on retail-level replenishment patterns at the retail level. retail, âsaid Roy Njoka, co-founder and CEO of Digiduka.
Tesh Mbaabu, co-founder and CEO of MarketForce, said the two teams share a vision and values.
âAcquiring Digiduka instead of competing with them makes perfect sense. These are two strong teams coming together to create massive impact in African retail. This is a case where one plus one equals five, âhe said.
âThis is a powerful step forward in financial technology for MarketForce, as we plan to further empower retailers, allowing them to act as a one-stop-shop for even more financial services. such as insurance and banking services in Kenya and other markets. Enabling them to sell such services dramatically increases retailer incomes while solving the challenge of last mile delivery and fostering financial inclusion for millions of Africans.