Kenyan-based retail distribution platform, MarketForce, has announced its acquisition of Digiduka. Digiduka is a startup focused on bringing African-based retailers into the digital economy.
According to the blog post where Marketforce made the announcement, the company stated that the acquisition will accelerate the integration of financial services into RejaReja and provide an all-inclusive digital commerce platform for informal retailers in Africa.
MarketForce, through its B2B “RejaReja” marketplace, has been enabling informal shops to source, order, and pay for inventory at any time, through interactive SMS and mobile app.
According to information provided on MarketForce’s website, RejaReja has been able to serve over 15,000 retailers, all spread across 5 countries – Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, and the USA.
Commenting on the acquisition, Co-founder and CEO of Digiduka, Roy Njoka, stated that:
“Our team is excited to join forces with MarketForce and go after this US$ 700 Billion market opportunity together. Despite the seeming runaway success of mobile money in Kenya, a huge 92 per cent 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 extend working capital to these retailers is also largely untapped due to the perceived risk that MarketForce resolves through having reliable data on re-stocking patterns at the retail level.”
Roy Njoka and co-founder, Lovell Larbie, would be joining MarketForce as the VP of Partnerships & Digital Financial Services (DFS), and VP of Engineering, respectively, while other team members would also be adopted into the new company.
Tesh Mbaabu, MarketForce co-founder and CEO, also made comments on the acquisition and team management. He said:
“Our teams share a vision and values, to a large extent. Therefore, acquiring Digiduka instead of competing with them just makes sense. It’s all about two solid teams coming together to create a massive impact in African retail. This is a case where one plus one is equal to five.”
Digiduka, which was established and funded during Antler’s first Kenyan Start-up Generator programme, is focused on digital payments, allowing retailers to collect mobile money and bank payments via mobile app WhatsApp bot, or USSD code.
Digiduka, through its services, eliminate the high mobile money transaction fees and encourages both merchants and end-users to reduce the use of cash.