Tushop, a Kenyan social-commerce startup, has closed a $3 million pre-seed funding round led by 4DX Ventures with participation from JAM Fund, Breyer Capital, Chandaria Capital, TO Ventures, Golden Palm Investments, FirstCheck Africa, and DFS Lab.
Wasoko (formerly Sokowatch) also joined to make their first strategic institutional investment into Tushop, signalling confidence in the team’s ability to capture the community group-buying opportunity in Africa.
The oversubscribed round included additional participation from a number of angel investors including Olugbenga Agboola (CEO, Flutterwave), Raja Kaul (President, Sundial Group), Eli Pollak (CEO, Apollo Agriculture), and Ida Mannoh (Director of Growth, Chipper Cash).
The funds will be deployed to grow Tushop’s team, invest in tech to make its platform as easy to use as possible, and to further expand across Nairobi before rolling the service out to other cities in Kenya.
Co-founded in 2021 by Cathy Chepkemboi, Tushop is a community group buying platform where members can sell groceries to those in their social networks and communities. The community group-buying saves consumers up to 60% on groceries compared to buying in supermarkets, dukas, or at “mama mbogas”, while providing the added convenience of free delivery.
Tushop works with “Community Leaders” who collate orders from their neighbours and manage door-to-door deliveries. This not only simplifies last-mile delivery but also gives the Community Leaders additional income for coordinating and delivering orders. Similar community group-buying companies in other markets have achieved significant success, such as Nice Tuan in China and Favo in Brazil.
Commenting, Cathy Chepkemboi, Founder & CEO at Tushop, said: “We are our own customers! We have grown up experiencing the problem of unaffordable food on the one hand and the need to have additional ‘side hustles’ on the other because of persistently low incomes. We also have first-hand experience of the difficulties manufacturers face when moving goods through a fragmented supply chain, which creates distance between them and the customers they serve. We are therefore hyper-focused on delivering a superior experience for suppliers, ‘side-hustling’ Community Leaders, as well as our end-customers in an integrated manner.”
Chepkemboi added that they are stoked to be working with some of the leading investors globally and locally who really understand the African space from a logistics, tech, and payments perspective, and look forward to justifying their faith in them with future growth, commercial success, and meaningful social impact.
“Wasoko’s investment in us is also a validating signal of the work we’ve done so far and we look forward to working closely with them to scale Tushop.”
Peter Orth, Managing Partner at 4DX said that they think that the market opportunity for Tushop is incredibly large, and that Cathy is the right founder to go after it given her deep understanding of the market, and impressive execution and growth thus far.
“We’re thrilled to join such a strong team of other investors and advisors to help Tushop become the dominant player in group-buying across Africa.”