Sky.Garden, a Nairobi-based e-commerce platform, has raised US$4 million in Series A funding to accelerate its growth.
Sky.Garden, which launched in May 2017, is a mobile commerce software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform designed specifically for African businesses. Its user-friendly online marketplace enables informal traders, SMEs, and established businesses to sell their wares.
Its technology was developed with a strong focus on African sellers in mind, and it has been adapted to tap into the continent’s extensive logistics network of both informal and structured shipping.
Sky.Garden secured a US$1.2 million seed funding round in 2018, and it has now received an additional US$4 million in capital via a Series A round led by SANAD Fund for MSME, Aavishkaar, UNCOVERED FUND, and KSK Angel Fund, which was founded by Japanese former AC Milan footballer Keisuke Honda.
The funds will be used to help the startup grow faster. Thousands of Kenyan stores have opened webshops through Sky.Garden since its launch, allowing a retailer on one side of Kenya to sell products to a customer on the other side without any technical knowledge. Purchased items will be delivered within 24 hours, and the money will be transferred to the vendor’s account once the customer accepts the item.
“Sky.Garden’s sole focus is to provide African sellers with best-in-class technology to access and reap the benefits of online commerce. This investment round will allow Sky.Garden to drive impact at scale. I’m looking forward to an exciting new chapter with these great partners pioneering e-commerce with the African entrepreneur in mind,” said Martin Majlund, chief executive officer (CEO) of Sky.Garden.
Dr Daniela Beckmann, chairperson of the SANAD board of directors, stated that SANAD has long promoted the power of technology for financial inclusion and business growth.
“The pandemic has underscored the importance of digital solutions in ensuring flexible, sustainable operations for entrepreneurs. We are very pleased to be joining forces with Sky.Garden, an impactful company expanding access to the benefits of e-commerce to the locally owned businesses that drive the engine of the economy and are at the core of SANAD’s mission. With an investment into Sky.Garden, we will also enable technology transfer for the benefit of entrepreneurs in the region,” she said.
Ashish Patel, partner at Aavishkaar Capital, said COVID-19 had accelerated the need for the large but highly fragmented and unorganised retail industry in Africa to access the digital economy.
“Sky.Garden is at the forefront at offering these businesses, transformative tools to fully capitalise on the uniquely African e-commerce opportunity, emerging as one of the leading e-commerce enabling platforms on the continent,” he said.