African B2B e-commerce leaders Wasoko, MaxAB announce merger

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Two of Africa’s most prominent B2B e-commerce companies, Kenya’s Wasoko and Egypt’s MaxAB, have announced they have signed preliminary merger terms to join together as a combined entity to drive the transformation of Africa’s informal retail sector.

Previously known as Sokowatch, Wasoko closed a US$125 million Series B equity round in March 2022. It enables retailers to restock products for their businesses at any time via mobile app with free same-day delivery, and is access across Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

MaxAB, meanwhile, was founded in 2018, and allows local underserved merchants and mom-and-pop shops in Egypt and Morocco to grow, increase their revenues, and enhance their own quality of life. The company closed its own US$40 million pre-Series B equity round in October 2022.

Amid challenging times for fundraising in Africa, the two companies have now announced a “merger-of-equals”, which they said would bolster the growth and development of the pair to establish the most successful digital retail platform on the continent. It has not yet been announced what that new entity will be called, or whether the “merger of equals” is a 50/50 share split or otherwise.

“This merger is the culmination of developing excellent teams, a lot of hard work over the years and a commitment to innovative solutions adding up to our unique offering to retailers. I am proud of what we have achieved as MaxAB, and even more excited for our future together with Wasoko. As a combined company, we can truly unlock the potential of Africa’s informal retail sector across a variety of technology-enabled services in e-commerce, fintech and logistics. As we embark on this new chapter, I am confident that the natural synergies between us will empower our customers and partners across the continent,” said MaxAB CEO Belal El-Megharbel.

“When I launched Wasoko in Kenya in 2016, it was with the promise of becoming a truly pan-African company, and this merger is the boldest step we’ve taken towards realising that goal while reflecting my personal history developing the initial concept behind Wasoko during my time spent in Egypt over a decade ago. As we embark on our next stage of expansion, our merger with MaxAB underscores our commitment to empowering businesses and connecting consumers across all parts of the African continent with an affordable and diverse range of essential products. We are excited to go further together on our shared vision, bolstered by complementary strengths while building the foundation for a remarkable partnership,” said Wasoko CEO Daniel Yu.

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