Kenyan retail-tech startup MarketForce has secured a partnership with fintech company Cellulant, after raising $2 million in series A funding. The startup aims at expanding into five more markets and reaching a target of one million merchants.
Marketforce is a B2B retail marketplace co-founded in 2018 by Tesh Mbaabu and Mesongo Sibuti. The startup enables informal merchants in Africa to digitally source, order, and pay for inventory, access financing, collect digital payments, and make extra money by reselling digital financial services such as airtime, electricity tokens, and bill payments.
In October, the YC-backed firm, which has over 100,000 merchants onboard, launched into Nigeria. Marketforce is adding a further five markets- Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Rwanda, and Ethiopia through a partnership with Cellulant, a major pan-African payment company that provides locally appropriate and alternative service methods for global, regional, and local merchants.
Cellulant, which was founded in 2004, and has offices in 18 African nations and a payments platform that connects thousands of businesses. On a single inclusive network, the platform powers payments for 220 million customers, enabling interoperability across Africa.
The partnership aims to provide more revenue prospects for informal retailers by empowering them to be agents for major financial institutions driving payments, savings, investments, insurance, and buy-now-pay-later services. MSMEs will be able to fully use the power of mobile-first financial distribution technology and infrastructure to build their enterprises as a result of integration.
“MarketForce recognises the power of collective action, we are excited to collaborate with like-minded partners like Cellulant, as well as players like Safaricom. It is an opportune time to grow our partnership with Cellulant out of Kenya, where we have already processed millions of transactions in 2021 alone. We have served over 550,000 unique consumers through a network of over 100,000 merchants, across all the major Kenyan towns”, Mbaabu said.
The Kenyan retail-tech startup MarketForce through the Cellulant partnership will invest in driving expansion into more cities throughout the continent over the next 12 months by hiring the best people and localizing its product and service to meet any new market it aims to enter.
“We have been piloting this partnership for six months and are happy to announce the plan to extend the fruitful relationship we have built with MarketForce in Kenya, and joining them as they avail the powerful RejaReja platform in six more African countries where Cellulant already has a foot in – Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Rwanda and Ethiopia. This collaboration will make our digital financial services available to millions of Africans, with the goal of significantly boosting financial inclusion and incomes for merchants across Sub-Saharan Africa”, said David Waithaka, chief business officer at Cellulant.
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