Kapu, a social commerce firm that emerged from stealth today with USD 8 million in preliminary investment, hopes to alleviate the stress of purchasing food for Kenyan consumers, many of whom are struggling with skyrocketing food prices.
Kapu founder Sam Chappatte, an ex-Jumia executive, stated that the firm has been establishing a b2c e-commerce service that allows users to acquire food at reduced rates through online and offline channels since its
debut in January this year.
The firm is now building its network of local agents through which customers may place orders. It will soon be able to accept WhatsApp orders as well. Kapu facilitates group bulk-buying of groceries by procuring directly from manufacturers and suppliers, claiming to assist consumers in saving up to 30% on fresh produce and package consumer items.
“People spending 40 to 50% of their family budget on groceries is a significant concern for society, but it is also a significant opportunity… We began Kapu because we believe a more relevant e-commerce model can be established to target the grocery basket, which is the largest chunk of spending for the vast majority of customers. And if we can increase efficiency through technology, we can hugely influence society for consumers and enterprises.”
Giant Ventures and Firstminute Capital co-led the seed round, with participation from Founder Collective, Norrsken (Klarna co-founder Niklas Adalberth’s firm), Base Capital and Raven One. They join Kapu’s early supporters, which include the co-founders of India’s Meesho and Brazil’s Facility, as well as several African family offices, Twitter’s Biz Stone, Supercell’s Ilkka Paananen, Monzo’s Tom Blomfield, and serial entrepreneur Alexander Rittweger.
“We are thrilled to partner with Sam and the entire Kapu team to help alleviate the cost of the Continent’s living crisis for consumers, unlock social mobility, and driving the growth for SMEs in the region,” said Sam Endacott, partner at Firstminute Capital.
Kapu claims to have 1,500 agent-collecting centers around Nairobi and plans to thoroughly permeate Kenya’s metropolis before extending to additional areas in its next phase of expansion.
Kapu’s agents, often located in residential neighborhoods, accept consumer orders and deliver them the next day.
Kapu stated that the physical channel (through agents) and online direct-to-consumer (using WhatsApp) approaches are tailored to the Kenyan market, where e-commerce has yet to take off, but social commerce is showing promise.
Kapu joins a growing list of Kenya firms digitizing the informal retail industry, such as Tushop, which began last year. Kapu and Tushop offer group purchasing of food supplies via agents and WhatsApp.
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