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Verod-kepple Africa Ventures Invests $1.5 Million in Morocco’s Chari

The funds are set to go into supporting Chari’s growth plan and helping develop its cutting-edge financial services infrastructure.

Rabat – Verod-Kepple Africa Ventures (VKAV), a Nigeria-based investment firm, announced today its plans to invest $1.5 million in Chari, a Moroccan B2B e-commerce company. 

In a statement, VKAV says the investment would support Chari’s growth plan and help develop its cutting-edge financial services infrastructure. Under the investment deal, VKAV’s Partner, Ryosuke (Rio) Yamawaki, has been appointed as a Strategic Advisor to Chari. 

Chari operates a Business-to-Business (B2B) e-commerce platform that offers grocery stores services, including free-of-charge product delivery.

Informal retail shops are vital in Morocco’s Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) trade, accounting for over 80% of total transactions. However, companies working within the space face operational challenges, including inefficiencies due to intermediaries, a lack of digitization, and limited access to trade finance. 

Commenting on the partnership, Ismael Belkhayat, CEO and Co-founder of Chari, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership with VKAV. 

“We are thrilled to have VKAV as our partner as we establish a cutting-edge and fundamental financial services infrastructure for the mass market in our country,” he said. “With VKAV’s extensive network across Africa and profound connections with the Japanese corporate society, we believe they will consistently bring value to our endeavors.”

Ryosuke (Rio) Yamawaki, Partner at VKAV, emphasized the firm’s focus on investing in category-defining African start-ups. 

“Chari is uniquely positioned to transform the informal retail sector and redefine the category of informal trade in Africa,” Yamawaki said. “We firmly believe that their innovative approach will benefit the local market and serve as a showcase to the rest of the world.”

Chari is one of the most successful and still promising Moroccan startups. In 2023, the startup ranked among one of the fastest-growing businesses in Africa. The company launched its first warehouse in Casablanca in January 2020. Later in the fourth quarter of 2021, the startup expanded its operations by opening a second warehouse in Tangier.

As of March 2022, the Tangier and Casablanca warehouses served over 15,000 grocery stores along Morocco’s North Atlantic coast.

In a move to further enhance its services, Chari acquired the Karny.ma application in 2022, a credit record service utilized in over 50,000 sales points across Morocco.

The company also operates its own customer service office in Casablanca, employing a dedicated team of over a hundred customer service agents.

Under its ambitious growth strategy, Chari solidified its position in the retail sector of Francophone Africa through the June 2022 acquisition of Diago, an Ivorian retail app. This acquisition followed closely after three previous deals, including a notable $22 million agreement for Axa Credit.