Kibanda TopUp, a Kenyan-based startup that aims to digitize the food supply chain for micro, small, and medium restaurants in Africa closed a $460k pre-seed round last week to increase its customer base.
The round was led by US-based JAM Fund, with the participation of mPharma’s CEO, Gregory Rockson; Flutterwave’s CEO, Olugbenga GB Agboola; Alarko Ventures’ Managing Partner, Cem Garih; and several angel investors.
Launched in February 2021 by Co-founders, Njavwa Mutambo and Emilie Blauwhoff, Kibanda delivers goods directly to restaurants via electric tricycles assembled in Nairobi by ARC Ride.
“The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in Africa was a stark reminder of how fragile Africa’s food supply chains are. With half of the African population eating from largely informal restaurants daily, strengthening restaurants’ supply chains is a matter of food security. We are on a mission to increase restaurants’ contribution to African GDP. This means enabling restaurants with the stock and financial services they need to serve Africa’s growing population,” said Mutambo.
Customers can order inventory such as grains, beverages, poultry, and beef via app or SMS and receive their order the next day.
Since its launch, the startup has reportedly served 130 restaurants, just recently announcing the one-hundredth restaurant on May 31, 2021.
The startup plans to use the funding to hire critical team members in the engineering and supply chain who will enable fast growth and development of additional products.
Local investors like Rockson and Agboola continue a growing trend of African investments in early-stage startups.
“Local informal restaurants are the heart of social commerce in African neighborhoods. Kibanda Topup has a great opportunity to drive a transformation of these businesses into a formal restaurant cooperative to maximize the economic potential. I am excited about the team behind this journey as they have the right experience and intent to build a huge business,” said Rockson.