Launched in 2016 as Sokowatch, Wasoko provides free same-day delivery of essential goods and financing to informal retail stores across Africa. The platform enables retailers to order products at any time via SMS or mobile app and receive delivery through its proprietary logistics network to their store.
The startup has delivered over 2.5 million orders to over 50,000 informal retailers across Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Ivory Coast, and Senegal, and in March of last year banked a US$125 million Series B round for further expansion.
It has now announced its expansion into Zambia, its first location in Southern Africa. Wasoko will invest over US$1 million in its first year of operations to support local Zambian businesses and communities to get more essential goods for less through the power of e-commerce.
Launching its central hub in Lusaka, Wasoko’s operations will enable small retailers across the city to access an affordable range of products for same-day delivery and working capital financing solely through the convenience of a mobile app. The formation of Lusaka as a central hub is also part of Wasoko’s company-wide pivot to a hub and spoke logistics network to drive stronger operational efficiency and significantly boost its capacity for faster regional expansions.
“As we drive ahead with the next phase of our growth journey, it’s vital that the operating environments of our future markets are conducive to our ambitions and Zambia provides exactly this. With high smartphone usage and a pro-business government administration keen on expanding the country’s digital economy, Zambia is an ideal environment to launch our model and strongly aligns with our current core markets, both in terms of similar regulatory practices and a supplier base which is intertwined with East Africa,” said Daniel Yu, founder and global CEO at Wasoko.
“With this in mind, we’re confident that our new launch will not only play a huge role in accelerating our existing progress across the continent, but also significantly strengthen the purchasing power of everyday citizens in Zambia and enhance their livelihoods in the process.”
In addition to its latest expansion, Wasoko will also be doubling its service radius across all of its existing locations in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda, where it has amassed a network of over 200,000 informal retailers and delivered more than 5 million orders to date.