Kenyan-based B2B e-commerce startup Wasoko has dismissed reports that it has shut down its operations in the country.
On Monday, a report by Business Daily named Wasoko among the six Kenyan startups that had closed shop due to difficult market conditions as well as funding hitches. In a statement, the startup says these reports are false and misleading. ”Wasoko continues to be headquartered in Kenya, and recently launched our new HQ offices at Senteu Plaza, Kilimani” it says.
The report cited Wasoko’s recent move to Zanzibar where the firm opened an innovation hub in partnership with the Zanzibar government. Located in Fumba Town, Zanzibar, the new Hub will focus on building world-class tech solutions that will drive Africa’s e-commerce industry for years to come, becoming home to over 500 visionary engineers, product managers, UX designers and researchers from Africa and across the globe.
”The Innovation Hub in Zanzibar launched in August is focused on building world-class solutions to support our operations across Africa. The team at the Hub comprises engineers, product managers, UX designers and researchers whilst Kenya remains very much about local and companywide operations,” it says.
”Our operations in Kenya continue to be the largest with 936 employees across 12 branches, supporting a local customer base of over 48,000.” the statement further read.
Wasoko was launched in Kenya in 2016 and says its position in the country has been instrumental to the company’s success, evolution and ability to scale operations across Africa, with operations in Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal.
In March this year, which leverages technology to transform the informal retail supply chain raised a $125 million Series B equity round, the largest venture financing round ever raised for a non-fintech startup in Africa. The round was led by Tiger Global, the world’s largest venture capital firm, and Avenir Growth Capital.
VNV Global, Binny Bansal (Co-Founder of Flipkart) and Sujeet Kumar (Co-Founder of Udaan), as well as existing investors Quona Capital, 4DX Ventures and JAM Fund also participated in the round.
Alongside the new Series B funding, Sokowatch also officially launched in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire and Dakar, Senegal, the company’s first locations in West Africa.
Other startups mentioned in the Business Daily report are Kune Foods, Notify Logistics, WeFarm, BRCK, Sendy and Sky-Garden. Sendy has also dismissed the report.
”Our mission at Sendy is to make it easy for businesses to trade across Africa. We want to do to Africa what Alibaba has done for China. This is a two-decade goal. We are just in year 7 in 4 countries. It’s still day 1.” said Mesh Alloys, Founder and CEO, Sendy in a series of tweets.
The logistics startup restructured its operations, effectively winding down its Supply service. The startup says it will now lay more emphasis on its Fulfilment Service and provide more streamlined services to its business clients.