Kapu, a social e-commerce startup has raised $8 million in seed funding, is hoping to help lessen the burden of buying food for Kenyan consumers, many of whom are grappling with sky-rocketing food prices.
Kapu founder Sam Chappatte, former Jumia Group executive vice president, said the startup has since inception in January this year been building a B2C e-commerce service that enables consumers tom buy groceries at lower prices through online and offline channels.
The startup is now expanding its network of local agents with whom consumers can place orders.
It will soon support WhatsApp orders too. By sourcing directly from manufacturers and producers, Kapu enables group bulk-buying of groceries and claims to help consumers save up 30% of the spend on fresh produce and packaged consumer goods.
They join Kapu’s early backers, including India’s Meesho and Brazil’s Facily co-founders, and a number of African family offices, Twitter’s Biz Stone, Supercell’s Ilkka Paananen, Tom Blomfield of Monzo and serial entrepreneur Alexander Rittweger.
Kapu says it has 1,500 agent collection centers across Nairobi, and will, in its next phase of growth, work to fully penetrate Kenya’s capital before expanding to new markets.
Kapu’s agents, usually positioned within residential areas, take customers’ orders and make deliveries the next day.
Kapu said the offline channel (through agents) and online direct-to-consumer (via WhatsApp) models are designed to suit the Kenyan market, where e-commerce has not taken off but social commerce is showing signs of potential.
Kenya who is based at Nairobi Garage // Spring Valley is said to have one of the highest percentages of monthly WhatsApp users in the world, according to Global Web Index’s 2020 Social Media User Trends Report — happening as the popularity of the social commerce sector surges in the region as the shift toward online shopping continues post-Covid pandemic.
Kapu joins the growing list of startups that are digitizing the informal retail sector in Kenya, including Tushop, which launched last year. Kapu and Tushop both enable group buying of food supplies through agents and WhatsApp.
From us at Nairobi Garage, it is a big congratulations to #TeamKapu!