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Social commerce startup – Tushop – eyes Kenyan expansion; raises $3m pre-seed funding

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Kenyan-based social commerce startup, Tushop, has completed its pre-seed funding round, raising $3 million from a long list of investors.

The startup, which allows people to buy fast-moving-consumer-goods (FMCG), said it would use the funds to scale its expansion across Kenya.

The funding round was led by 4DX Ventures. Other investment firms that participated in the fundraising round include: JAM Fund, Breyer Capital, Chandaria Capital, TO Ventures, Golden Palm Investments, FirstCheck Africa, and DFS Lab. Wasoko, formerly known as Sokowatch, also made its first strategic investment.

Angel investors also participated in the funding round, with the likes of Olugbenga Agboola (Flutterwave CEO), Raja Kaul (President, Sundial Group), Eli Pollak (CEO, Apollo Agriculture), and Ida Mannoh (Chipper Cash director of growth) participating.

Tushop was founded in 2021 by Cathy Chepkemboi, who also doubles as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). She had previously worked with Unilever, as well as Moko furniture company.

Chepkemboi claimed she first noticed the lapses in logistics management in Kenya when she worked with Unilever (Kenya), noting that the problem contributed to the high rising prices of consumer goods in Kenya.

“I was in the field distributing products and could see what happens on the ground. […] I could also immediately tell that if we were in direct contact with the customer, the cost would be lower and we could do more targeted promotions or marketing. This led to what we are doing now, sourcing from manufacturers and selling directly to consumers,” Chepkemboi said.

Speaking on Tushop’s business model, Chepkemboi said the startup works with ‘Community leaders’ who collate orders from neighbourhood, through a virtual shop. Tushop then make bulk order from manufacturers, saving shoppers up to 60% in the process.

Tushop is yarning for an expansion through Nairobi, Kenya, first, before gunning for a country-wide expansion.

We are going to scale across Nairobi, and because it is an operationally intensive business, we [immediately] need more warehouses and delivery trucks. We are hiring and also improving our technology and our agents’ channels to make the experience even better,” Chepkemboi said.

Read also: Kenyan Fintech startup – Churpy – raises $1m to scale expansion into different African regions

Commenting on the fundraise, Peter Orth, managing partner at 4DX ventures, said:

We think that the market opportunity for Tushop is incredibly large, and that Cathy is the right founder to go after it given her deep understanding of the market, and impressive execution and growth thus far. We’re thrilled to join such a strong team of other investors and advisors to help Tushop become the dominant player in group-buying across Africa.”

Tushop joins other players in Kenya’s growing FMCG sector like: MarketForce’s RejaReja and Wasoko.

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