This big move is the second time they’ve expanded to a new country in 2023, following their successful launch in Zambia earlier this year.
In the DRC, Wasoko will focus on helping small businesses in the city of Goma, the capital of the North Kivu province. They’ve managed to do this with help from the Rwandan government and special trade zones as part of the wider drive to foster regional economic integration.
What’s impressive is what Wasoko achieved in Rwanda. Since its launch in 2019, Wasoko’s revenues have skyrocketed from $2 million in its first year of business to a remarkable $48 million in 2022.
The platform currently serves over 5,000 informal retailers in Rwanda alone, and with such a track record, Wasoko is confident it can leverage its existing infrastructure to drive growth for small businesses in the neighbouring DRC.
Speaking on the launch, Daniel Yu, Founder and Global CEO at Wasoko, says, “As one of Africa’s largest countries, the DRC presents a substantial market opportunity for Wasoko. Despite a rapidly growing population of nearly 100 million people with increasing purchasing power, the country’s significant infrastructural challenges have placed huge limitations on its e-commerce sector, which presents a vastly untapped opportunity.”
Following their expansion into the DRC, Wasoko has big plans to replicate this successful model in other regions across Africa.
This aligns with their long-term vision to strengthen their Pan-African presence while empowering local businesses and connecting African consumers with diverse products and services.
Philip Lucky, Acting Chief Investment Officer at the Rwanda Development Board, is happy about Wasoko’s expansion: “The Government of Rwanda is pleased with Wasoko’s expansion to the DRC. It joins Rwanda’s success stories of its proof-of-concept strategy, which allows investors to set up and test their solutions in Rwanda before scaling to the region. We remain committed to improving Rwanda’s ICT & Innovation eco-system in order to enable investors and startups to thrive.”
Since its launch in 2016, Wasoko has pioneered innovative technology to address supply chain inefficiencies faced by millions of local shop owners in Africa’s informal retail sector.
With a presence across Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia, they’ve built a vast network of over 220,000 informal retailers and delivered more than 5 million orders to date.
In March 2022, Wasoko raised a remarkable $125 million in a Series B funding round, the largest ever for a non-fintech startup in Africa.
The Financial Times also recognised it as Africa’s Fastest Growing Company in 2022.
Source : Business Insider Africa