Morocco’s Chari raises $1.5 million from Verof-Kepple Africa Ventures to support its expansion across Africa

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Morocco-based B2B e-commerce and fintech startup Chari has raised $1.5 million from Verof-Kepple Africa Ventures to support its growth plan. 

Founded in 2020 by Ismael Belkhayat and Sophia Alj, Chari lets retailers purchase large quantities of inventory items directly from suppliers.  With this investment ,Chari will be able to expand its reach across Africa and scale its portfolio of financial services.

Ismael Belkhayat, CEO and Co-founder of Chari expressed his excitement about partnering with VKAV during this pivotal phase of the company’s growth. He stated, “We are thrilled to onboard VKAV as our partner as we establish a cutting-edge and fundamental financial services infrastructure for the mass market in our country. With VKAV’s extensive network across Africa and profound connections with the Japanese corporate society, we believe they will consistently bring value to our endeavours.”

As part of the deal, Ryosuke (Rio) Yamawaki, Partner at VKAV, has been appointed as a Strategic Advisor to the company, reinforcing their commitment to transforming the informal retail sector and driving economic growth in the region.

In Morocco, much like other African countries, most fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) trade is conducted through informal retail shops, which currently account for over 80% of the total FMCG trade. However, these vital establishments face operational inefficiencies due to multiple layers of intermediaries involved, a lack of digitization, and limited access to trade finance. Chari has emerged as a game-changer in this space, revolutionizing the operations of informal retail shops by offering essential goods and services more affordably and efficiently.

Ryosuke (Rio) Yamawaki, Partner at VKAV, emphasized the firm’s focus on investing in category-defining African start-ups. Yamawaki said, “Chari is uniquely positioned to transform the informal retail sector and redefine the category of informal trade in Africa. We firmly believe that their innovative approach will benefit the local market and serve as a showcase to the rest of the world.”

As VKAV joins forces with Chari, the investment will provide the necessary impetus to drive the company’s growth plans and further develop its groundbreaking financial services infrastructure for the masses. The partnership will enable Chari to continue delivering innovative solutions, propelling Morocco’s economy forward and showcasing the potential of Africa’s informal retail sector on a global scale.