Kasha, a Rwandan digital retail startup has closed a $21 million Series B round from Knife Capital, a South African venture capital firm.
Other investors in the round include Finnfund, Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Tim Koogle, the former CEO of Yahoo, Beyond Capital Ventures, Altree Capital, Bamboo Capital’s BLOC Smart Africa Fund, and Five35 Ventures.
“In the current economic climate, it is refreshing to come across such a high-growth capital-efficient business that is female-led and optimized to serve the large mass market segment in Africa, being especially strong at serving women customers. We look forward to being a partner in the Pan-African expansion journey with this purpose-driven dedicated team,” says Keet van Zyl, co-founder, and partner at Knife Capital.
The startup says it will use the funds to “expand across Africa and invest in strategic areas of the business to further continue our high growth trajectory,” according to Kasha founder and CEO Joanna Bichsel. Currently, the startup operates in Kenya and Rwanda. Kasha recently registered in South Africa, it plans to also expand into West Africa in the coming months.
Founded in 2016, Kasha provides a digital retail and last-mile distribution platform for pharmaceuticals and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) with a specific product focus on women’s healthcare needs and household items. Its customers include individual consumers, small resellers, hospitals, pharmacies, and clinics. Kasha users usually products ranging from sanitary pads and contraceptives to diapers and cleaning supplies via its website or USSD.
“We have always understood that women are the most influential customer in the health space, both because they have the most health needs and are decision-makers for health in the household and unlock the rest of the population,” Bichsel added. “Since many health products for women are stigmatized, Kasha has purposely offered a wide variety of products, including personal care products like soap, health products like contraceptives, and household staples like rice.”
Kasha has raised at least $26.1 million across three rounds—seed, Series A and Series B—since it was founded.
According to Bichsel, who was previously an advisor at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:
“Having reached this major milestone of closing our Series B, we are even more inspired and determined to achieve Kasha’s mission of being Africa’s leading digital platform for last-mile access to health. The exponential revenue growth we’ve experienced over the last several years was driven by the high market demand for quality, affordable health products and household goods from mass market customers in urban and rural areas of East Africa, and this has proven our business model and our team’s ability to execute.”