Chari, a Moroccan b2b ecommerce startup, has secured a $5 million seed round at a valuation of $70 million. It is the largest round in the North African country.
The round was co-led by Rocket Internet, Global Founders Capital and P1 Ventures. Also participating were Y Combinator, Plug and Play, Village Capital/MetLife Foundation, Orange Ventures, Airbnb executives, SPE Capital, Pincus Private Equity, The Chandaria family, Michael Lahyani and the management company of an American Ivy League university.
The startup will use the seed round to expand into Francophone Africa; Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mauritania and Senegal. Also, the company will use the funding to get licences to offer other financial services like remittances, bill payments, mobile top-up and buy now, pay later in Tunisia and Morocco.
Founded by Sophia Alj and Ismael Belkhayat in 2020, Chari aims to digitize informal retail stores in Morocco and provide credit to them. Chari operates as a mobile app allowing small retailers to order products from partnering FMCG multinationals and local manufacturers and get them in less than 24 hours. It’s the same process in Tunisia, its second market after Morocco.
The Moroccan startup which took part in the recent Y Combinator’s Summer batch, currently transacts about $2.5 million monthly, said Belkhayat.
It has signed up 15,000 merchants and is growing 20% month-on-month, but just half of those use the platform regularly.