Social commerce startup Kapu, by ex-Jumia executive, comes out of stealth with $8M funding

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Kapu, a social commerce startup, coming out of stealth today having raised $8 million seed funding, is hoping to help lessen the burden of buying food for Kenyan consumers, many of whom are grappling with the sky-rocketing food prices.

Kapu founder, Sam Chappatte, an ex-Jumia executive, said the startup has since inception in January this year been building a b2c e-commerce service that enables consumers buy groceries at lower prices, through online and offline channels.

The startup is now building a network of local agents that consumers can place orders with. It will soon support WhatsApp orders too. By sourcing directly from manufacturers and producers, Kapu enables group bulk-buying of groceries and claims to help consumers save up 30% of the spend on fresh produce and packaged consumer goods.

“People spending like 40 to 50% of their household income on the grocery basket is a big problem for society, but it is also a huge opportunity … The reason we started Kapu is that we think that there is a more relevant model of ecommerce that can be built to target the grocery basket, which is the biggest portion of spend for the vast majority of consumers. And if by using technology we can bring efficiency then we can have a tremendous impact on society for consumers and businesses,” Chappate told TechCrunch.

The Seed round was co-led by Giant Ventures and Firstminute Capital, with participation from Founder Collective, Base Capital, Norrsken (Klarna co-founder Niklas Adalberth’s fund) and Raven One. They join Kapu’s early backers, including India’s Meesho and Brazil’s Facily co-founders, and a number of African family offices, Twitter’s Biz Stone, Supercell’s Ilkka Paananen, Tom Blomfield of Monzo and serial entrepreneur Alexander Rittweger.

Kapu says it has so far set up 1,500 agent collection centers across Nairobi, and will, in its next phase of growth, work to fully penetrate Kenya’s capital before expanding to new markets.

Kapu’s agents, usually positioned within residential areas, take the orders and make the deliveries the next day.

“Customers will receive a notification from Kapu and also from the agents, to go pick up their goods. Many agents will also deliver to consumers’ homes,” said Chappate.

Kapu said the offline channel (through agents) and online direct to consumer (via WhatsApp) models are designed to suit this market, where e-commerce has not taken off but social commerce is showing signs of potential.

Kenya is said to have one of the highest percentages of monthly WhatsApp users in the world, according to Global Web Index’s 2020 Social Media User Trends Report — happening as the popularity of the social commerce sector surges in the region as the shift toward online shopping from e-commerce continues post Covid.

Kapu joins the growing list of startups that are digitizing the informal retail sector in Kenya, including Tushop, which launched last year, to enable group buying of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) through agents and WhatsApp.

Tommy Stadlen, founding partner of Giant Ventures, which also led the Pre-Seed, said: “By using technology to save people money on everyday goods, Kapu will enable millions of households across Africa to invest in education and health. Kapu’s team is uniquely experienced to solve this problem.”

Social commerce startup Kapu, by ex-Jumia executive, comes out of stealth with $8M funding by Annie Njanja originally published on TechCrunch



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