South African ecommerce startup Yebo Fresh has announced that it has succeeded in securing a R78 million (~$4.5 million) pre-Series A equity investment and a Jobs Fund grant.

Yebo Fresh works to make it easy for independent businesses to purchase groceries and other essential items. Orders are placed via WhatsApp or through the Yebo Fresh team of field sales agents, resulting in what the company calls a streamlined purchasing process. Using a dark store-based fulfilment model, Yebo Fresh is able to deliver orders within 24 hours, eliminating the cost and hassle of shopping trips to wholesalers. 

Additionally, Yebo Fresh offers a buy-now-pay-later option. This process is guided by customer insights and algorithms and opens the door to informal businesses who do not currently have access to formal loans. 

The startup claims to be the only player exclusively focused on the township market and successfully working with a rapidly growing network of Spaza shops, prepared food outlets and other township businesses, offering investors, suppliers and partners a unique opportunity to tap into the multi-billion South African township market.

The new capital injection will allow Yebo Fresh to expand further, significantly build on its physical and systems infrastructure and attract new talent.

“This funding will allow us to grow into new product categories and market segments, expand our systems and warehousing infrastructure, and explore further partnership opportunities with strategic players in the market. It will also assist us in gathering even more data insights, further strengthening our unique position in this massive market segment,” said Jessica Boonstra, Yebo Fresh CEO.

The pre-Series A investment was led by Enza Capital. Additional re-investments were also secured from current investors including E4EAfrica, Yebo Fresh’s largest investor. 

“We are thrilled to back the exceptional Yebo Fresh team. They are fundamentally changing the way essential goods are provided to the township market, an underserved but vibrant and growing segment of the South African economy,” said John Lazar, general partner at Enza Capital.

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