After layoffs, Kenya’s MarketForce is exiting 3 markets in Africa, founders speak

Abu Mubarik November 02, 2023
Mesongo Sibuti and Tesh Mbaabu MarketForce co-founders (L-R) / MarketForce. Photo credit: Tech crunch

MarketForce is a Kenyan B2B e-commerce company that enables informal retailers (mom-and-pop stores) to order fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) directly from distributors and manufacturers and access financing.

The company has exited three of its five markets in Africa and its super-app dubbed RejaReja will now be available only in Uganda after the company discontinued the offering in Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Tanzania.

According to Tech Crunch, Kenya will continue to serve as the company’s headquarters. The company is also launching a social commerce spinout called Chpter. Kenya will also serve as a launchpad for Chpter, which allows merchants to “turn conversations on their social media channels into more sales.”

This was made known by Tesh Mbaabu, who will double up as MarketForce and Chpter co-founder and CEO. The decision to pull out from three countries in Africa started last year when some VCs reneged on their Series A funding commitments.

This forced the company to scale down operations and conduct several layoffs. The cash crunch came amidst the global venture capital downtime that has made raising funding hard, Tech Crunch said.

“The cash crunch and current market realities have forced companies like MarketForce to abandon growth-at-all-costs and instead pursue paths to profitability, push for bridge rounds or raise funding at lower valuations. MarketForce recently raised $1 million through crowdfunding,” the platform further wrote.

In an earlier interview with Tech Crunch, co-founder Mbaabu said they were focused on consolidating the resources of the company to build a profitable business by delivering in areas with a strong demand density and shutting down routes that are not profitable.

“After we decided to move towards a path to profitability, Uganda has been our best performing market. We have exclusive distributor contracts with four major manufacturers, and margins are better, enabling us to run a gross profitable operation there; that is why we will keep it active,” he said.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: November 2, 2023


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