Chari, a Moroccan e-commerce startup, receives second backing from Plug and Play to digitise FMCG fulfillment for retail stores in francophone Africa.
Plug and Play, a leading innovation network headquartered in Silicon Valley, has announced its latest investment into Chari, a Moroccan B2B e-commerce startup that connects small-scale retailers to FMCG manufacturers. While the funding amount remains undisclosed, TechCabal confirmed that it is part of a closed Series A round which will be announced in the future.
Chari onboards traditional mom-and-pop stores onto its platform and helps them fulfill orders while providing embedded financing services. The startup claims to have onboarded over 20,000 food businesses in Morocco before its expansion to Tunisia and Ivory Coast last year.
In a statement shared with TechCabal, Aziz El Hachem, North-Africa Director at Plug and Play, expressed confidence in Chari’s founders and their ability to take the business to new heights. “Morocco’s startup scene is growing, with more and more companies securing funding at more advanced stages of growth. We’re thrilled to be part of this dynamic ecosystem, and we’re particularly excited about Chari who first caught our attention as part of our inaugural cohort in Morocco in partnership with the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University and Startgate. Ismael and Sophia are stellar entrepreneurs, and we’re confident that they will achieve great things,” he said.
This latest funding adds to Chari’s streak, following its 2021 raise of $5 million. In 2022, the startup raised an undisclosed bridge round which saw it acquire Axa Credit and Diago. Then in February 2023, Chari raised $1 million from Orange Ventures as part of its ongoing Series A round (which is welcoming Plug and Play as a returning investor).
Chari’s business model aggregates the scattered network of traditional retail stores that characterise FMCG markets in developing countries. These stores account for 80% of the consumption market, representing a huge market opportunity for Chari. With its solution, the Moroccan startup hopes to revolutionise the way these stores operate and replenish their stock. Chari claims to offer lower prices and same-day deliveries to the retail stores on its platform while enabling FMCG brands to track their sales at the grassroots.
“Chari has demonstrated strong traction in the market, having already established itself as the leading B2B e-commerce platform for FMCG products in Morocco, with a clear vision to become a regional player and build additional services, which will provide the company with opportunities to capture further market share and create additional revenue streams such as embedded fintech. Chari has recently become the first VC-backed startup to receive a payment license from the Central Bank of Morocco,” the press release reads in part.
Chari’s cap table comprises global institutional investors such as Y Combinator, Rocket Internet, Endeavor Catalyst, Harvard University Management Company, Orange Ventures, and Verod-Kepple, among others. Last year, TechCabal argued that Chari was on its way to becoming Morocco’s first unicorn. If the startup’s streaks of acquisition and funding announcements are anything to go by, then that possibility now seems closer than ever.