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Kasha, a women-focused health eCommerce startup raises $1m from Finnfund

Kasha, an e-commerce platform improving women’s access to genuine health, hygiene and self-care products in East Africa has secured $1 million investment from Finnfund for pan-African expansion.

Kasha sells menstrual care products, contraceptives, pharmaceuticals and a range of beauty products via its own platform, accessible through basic phones and a website and delivered to customers confidentially. Kasha will use the funds to develop the environmental and social policies to meet the international benchmarks even when scaling up the business.

Kasha was first founded in 2016 in Rwanda and has since expanded to Kenya. The company has served over 55 000 clients, of which 75% are low-income, and delivered close to 600 000 products out of which 275 000+ are health products.

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“We are a very purpose-driven company with a strong focus on our customers. We deliver the products that women actually want and need in a way that is most private and discreet for them”, says Kasha’s CEO Joanna Bichsel. “What drives us is that we can change the way women in emerging markets get their health products. Partnering with Finnfund, we look forward to growing our presence in Rwanda and Kenya as well as expanding to other countries in Africa – and eventually to other parts of the world.”

Finnfund started negotiations with Kasha in February 2020. “We were convinced by their strong mission and at the same time, we see that e-commerce is rapidly growing its share of consumer spending”, says Finnfund’s Investment Manager Johanna Raehalme. “During the investment process, Kasha’s role has become more relevant than ever: At the moment, they are preparing for an active role in protecting people from COVID-19”, says Raehalme.

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Kasha is also supporting the directives of the Ministry of Health, in Kenya and Rwanda to serve as a channel for the safe delivery of COVID-protection related products, information and services.

Kasha is also part of a technical working group identifying technology solutions to help with the situation.

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Finnfund is committed to investing 105 million euros in businesses that advance gender equality during 2019-2021. The investment in Kasha promotes gender equality by creating access to health-related products as well as creating employment and leaderships opportunities for women. “This investment fills all the 2X Challenge criteria that we apply to our gender investments”, says Raehalme.

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