African B2B marketplace Kwely nabs $1m seed round to accelerate growth
African B2B marketplace Kwely finalized a $1 million seed funding round with a $700,000 injection of fresh capital led by WIC Capital with participation from Loftyinc Capital, Afropreneur Angels, Haskè Ventures and other angel investors.
According to the company, the money will be used to support Kwely’s marketing and distribution of more than 200 SKUs it represents exclusively, the launch of its B2B wholesale digital platform and the implementation and launch of its packaging services facility. Lead investor DNA Capital and UMA Ventures had participated in the initial $250,000 part of Kwely’s funding round in July 2021.
Birame N. Sock, Founder and CEO, Kwely: “Kwely is working to connect the dots between local African producers, global consumers and international buyers. Our goal is to be the leading African B2B e-commerce platform that redefines the perception of African products and the way African buyers and sellers transact with each other and the rest of the world. We have seen the impact Alibaba has had on the informal industrial sector in China and believe that there is an opportunity in economies that are still driven by small businesses operating at the artisan level, to make Africa a major sourcing destination for international buyers.”
Kwely works with countries across Africa from brand development to packaging to ensure their products are ready to be exported. Last month, Kenyan B2B eCommerce startup Sokowatch announced that it would be rebranding to Wasoko after a $125 million Series B fundraising round that valued the company at $625 million.
Daniel Yu started Sokowatch in Kenya in 2015 as an asset-light platform and a marketplace for distributing fast-moving consumer goods to retailers. However, Yu said that model wasn’t sustainable because the company couldn’t guarantee the delivery of goods after orders were placed.
Wasoko allows retailers in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Ivory Coast and Senegal to order products from suppliers by text or on its mobile app, promising same-day delivery to their stores and shops facilitated by a network of drivers.