Dakar-based business-to-business wholesale distributor, Kwely, that develops export-ready products has raised nearly $1 million in seed round. This new check comes 9 months after its $250k pre-seed funding in 2021. The $700k from this round totals the seed funding to $950k.
This raiser will be used to launch Kwely’s digital platform and to market the various brands in its portfolio. The funding round will also sponsor the implementation and launch of Kwely’s packaging services facility.
Leading the fundraiser was WIC Capital, with participation from Loftyinc Capital, Afropreneur Angels, Haskè Ventures, and other angel investors.
Birame Sock launched the Senegalese startup in 2020 to introduce African products to the international market.
Kwely works with companies to co-produce made-in-Africa products with an export-ready outlook. This means that Kwely brands and distributes products in a way that appeals to the international market. The startup aims to position high quality Made In Africa products on the shelves and counters of major international retailers, hotels, airports, specialty stores and restaurants.
Kwely has developed a minimum viable product (MVP) for its technology platform to allow for feedback and development of existing products. The startup has also developed and validated over 200 products that are locally produced.
Kwely is working to connect the dots between local African producers, global consumers and international buyers. According to Birame Sock, founder and CEO of Kwely, the company’s goal is “to be the leading African B2B e-commerce platform that redefines the perception of African products and the way African buyers and sellers transact with each other and the rest of the world.”
“We have seen the impact Alibaba has had on the informal industrial sector in China and believe that there is an opportunity in economies that are still driven by small businesses operating at the artisan level, to make Africa a major sourcing destination for international buyers,” Sock added.
It is worth noting that Alibaba is China’s biggest e-commerce company with a reported 69% of online retail sales in China going through the company in 2021. Birame is undertaking a tremendous venture to bridge the gap between production and exportation even as the startup plans to raise a series A round by the end of 2022.
Evelyne Dioh, CEO of WIC Gestion, managing WIC Capital said, “The range of services offered by Kwely perfectly aligns with WIC Capital’s long-standing effort to foster the development of high-growth women-led SMEs – because efficient packaging has always been the missing link preventing our local producers from exporting and scaling their businesses to capture extra-continental markets.”