MoKo Home + Living, a Kenya-based home furniture manufacturer, and omnichannel retailer, has secured a $6.5 million Series B debt-equity funding round co-led by U.S.-based investment fund Talanton and Swiss investor AlphaMundi Group.
Novastar Ventures, which co-led the firm’s Series A round, and Blink CV also made follow-on investments. Kenya’s Victoria Commercial Bank offered $2 million in debt financing, as Talanton also extended $1 million mezzanine financing — a debt that can be turned into equity. The company is now eyeing its next phase of growth with the latest funding.
MoKo plans to use the funding to grow its presence in Kenya by tapping its online channels, building more partnerships with retailers and outlets to increase offline sales. It plans to also purchase more equipment.
The startup targets to enter three new markets by 2025 and to reach a wide pool of customers as furniture demand in the continent continues to grow, driven by population growth, urbanization, and increasing purchasing power.
Founded by Eric Kouskalis and Fiorenzo Conte in 2014, MoKo was initially known as Watervale Investment Limited, an entity that sought to fix raw material supply issues for furniture manufacturers. However, in 2017 it pivoted and started a pilot for its first consumer product (a mattress), and then a year later launched the MoKo Home + Living brand to serve the mass market.
The startup says it has grown five-fold over the last three years, and its products are currently in more than 370,000 homes in Kenya. It hopes to sell to millions of homes over the next few years as it embarks on scaling up production and growing its product line. Among its current products is the popular MoKo mattress.
Eric Kouskalis said: “We entered this market because we saw a real opportunity to guarantee and deliver quality furniture. We also wanted to bring convenience to customers, by making it easy for them to buy home furniture, the largest asset for most families in Kenya.
“We plan to have an offering for each major piece of furniture in a typical home — bed frame, TV stand, coffee table, carpet. We are also developing even more affordable products in existing product categories — sofas and mattresses.
“The potential for growth is what excites us the most. There’s still so much room to better serve millions of families in Kenya. That’s just the beginning — MoKo’s model is relevant for most markets in Africa, where families face similar obstacles in making comfortable, welcoming homes.”
“We were impressed by MoKo’s climate-friendly local production capabilities. The company is a leading innovator in the industry because they’ve turned sustainability into a remarkable commercial advantage. Every step they’ve taken on this front not only protects the environment, but it also improves the durability or affordability of MoKo’s offering to its customers,” said Miriam Atuya of the AlphaMundi Group.