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Kenyan tech startup MarketForce enters Nigerian market

LAGOS, (The Southern African Times) – MarketForce, a Kenyan B2B platform for retail distribution of consumer goods and digital financial services, has entered the Nigerian market.

For merchants, the B2B webshop can serve as a platform for planning procurement, ordering periodically scheduled deliveries, overseeing the execution of contracts, and such.

Co-founded in 2018 by Tesh Mbaabu and Mesongo Sibuti, MarketForce is a B2B retail marketplace that empowers informal merchants in Africa to source, order and pays for inventory digitally and conveniently, access financing, collect digital payments.

One can also make extra money by reselling digital financial services such as airtime, electricity tokens, and bill payments.

The YC-backed company is running an asset-light business model and has over 30,000 merchants onboarded so far, with revenue growing by over 30 percent month-on-month.

MarketForce recently raised over US$2 million in pre-Series A funding and has now expanded internationally for the first time, opening its doors in Nigeria.

“Africa is reported to have over 100 million merchants. A whopping 40 million of them are in Nigeria, with the highest annual FMCG purchasing in the whole continent, signifying how significant the market opportunity for MarketForce is,”said Tesh Mbaabu, the start-up’s co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO).

“Nigeria FMCG retail distribution operates very much like Kenya, it is very fragmented and competitive, which gives us the opportunity to make a real impact for both retailers and manufacturers.”

Linked to the expansion is MarketForce’s recent appointment of Arthur Bourekas as its new chief commercial officer (CCO).

Bourekas has over 25 years of experience executing commercial growth, logistics, and distribution in some of the most challenging countries in the world, having worked for A.G. Leventis (Nigeria) Plc and PZ Cussons in Nigeria, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Australia.

A veteran FMCG distribution expert in Africa, Bourekas was most recently involved at a senior level with Alerzo, a Nigerian B2B retail-tech startup that also helps retailers stock inventory directly from manufacturers.

“FMCG distribution in Africa is yet to be done effectively. Even multinationals with years of experience often can optimize their distribution and add real sales growth to their business. Innovation and focus are key. I am confident that with the platform MarketForce has built so far, along with the expertise being built within the organization, we are destined to revolutionize the sector and become a formidable force,” he said.

Mbaabu said his new CCO aligned to MarketForce’s ambitious growth plans and brought significant expertise into this new, critical role.

“His extensive emerging market experience, ability to drive commercial growth, and depth of technical distribution knowledge in Nigeria will be valuable in our efforts to deepen our East Africa market reach while expanding into the West African market,” he said.

“We would like to focus on Kenya and Nigeria for now – but as an aggressive startup, we continue assessing where we will go next. That notwithstanding, our focus remains on Sub-Saharan Africa, so you can bet we will be back to somewhere in East Africa.”

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