ⓘ Featured image: Founders of Chari, Sophia Alj (L) and Ismael Belkhayat; Credits: Supplied
Casablanca, Morocco-based Chari, a B2B e-commerce and FinTech startup, on Thursday, closed a bridge round at a valuation of $100 million. The funding round was led by the Saudi-based venture capital fund Khwarizmi Ventures (KV), AirAngels (Airbnb Alumni Investors), and Afri Mobility, the venture capital arm of AKWA Group.
The startup digitizes the largely fragmented FMCG sector in French-Speaking Africa. By using Chari’s app, traditional convenience stores in Morocco and Tunisia can order all the products they need and receive them in less than 24 hours.
Founded by Sophia Alj and Ismael Belkhayat in January 2020, Chari recently graduated from the Y Combinator Summer 21 batch. In October 2021, Chari announced a USD 5M seed round along with the acquisition of Karny.ma, a Moroccan ledger book that had more than fifty thousand active users.
The recent acquisition of the credit book app Karny.ma gave Chari valuable data on the loans given by grocery stores to their customers. This allows Chari to credit-assess the unbanked shop owners and determine the most fitting payment terms given to each.
Speaking of the development, Ismael Belkhayat, CEO of Chari and a Cornell University Alumni, in a press statement said,
“Chari will use the money of this bridge round to test the BNPL services with its existing customers. Upon successful results, Chari will acquire a local credit company to enable shop owners to lend money to their end users and further grow their business,”
Abdulaziz al-Turki, Managing Partner at Khwarizmi Ventures, said,
“Sophia and Ismael are visionary leaders that always make everyone around them think bigger every time they speak with them. We believe that under their leadership Chari will help in improving the lives of millions in Africa through simplified financial solutions. We are proud of their mission and delighted to join their adventure,”
This bridge round allows Khwarizmi Ventures, Air Angels and AKWA Group to join the existing cap table of Chari that includes Y Combinator, Rocket Internet, Global Founders Capital, Plug n Play, Orange Ventures, Harvard University Management Company, Village Capital, and P1 Ventures among others.