YC-backed Morocco B2B e-commerce startup Chari has closed a $5 million seed funding raising its valuation to $70 million. Founded in 2020 by Sophia Alj and Ismael Belkhayat Chari looks to digitize retail stores countrywide in addition to credit facilities. Companies such as Sokowatch, TradeDepot, and MaxAB are bringing shops online in different African markets, something Chari is working to emulate.
Chari participated in the recent Y Combinator Summer batch concluded two months ago. Y Combinator invested in the seed round alongside Plug and Play, Orange Ventures, Village Capital/MetLife Foundation, SPE Capital, Airbnb executives, Pincus Capital Management, Michael Lahyani, The Chandaria family, and other players.
This is the largest round in Morocco and was co-led by Global Founders Capital and P1 Ventures. There has been a notable rise in the emergence of retail tech startups fixated on bringing micro retailers into the digital space so as to exploit several added services from financial due diligence, credit lending, and a lot more.
In August, Chari faces competition from a regional player MaxAB that acquired WaystoCap another YC-backed company. This is after MaxAB completed a $55 million raise. Chari also made a recent acquisition of Karny.ma, in a similar but fairly unrelated move. The platform offers credit and bookkeeping services to over 40,000 merchants. This currently serves as Chari’s strategy to provide payment facilities.
As reported by TechCrunch (Oct 6), Chari operates distribution contracts with such FMCG companies and takes a 10% to 30% percentage on every sale made to shop owners. Chari runs a different model to MaxAB in that it does not hold assets. It utilizes the many warehouses available for rent in Morocco, helping it scale faster. It also operates this similar model in Tunisia – its second market. On a monthly basis, the startup transacts about $2.5 million monthly, has signed 15,000 merchants, and witnessed a 20% MoM growth rate of whom half use this platform regularly.