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After completing the summer‘21 batch of Y Combinator, and shortly after its acquisition of Morocco-based FinTech Karny.ma, the b2b E-commerce platform Chari successfully raised $5M in its latest funding round. The Seed round was co-led by Rocket Internet, Global Founders Capital, and P1 ventures and recorded participation from new and existing investors including Plug and Play, Y combinator, Village Capital / MetLife Foundation, Orange Ventures, Air Angels - Airbnb investors, SPE Capital, Pincus Private Equity, Reflect Ventures, The Chandaria family, Michael Lahyani, CEO and founder of Propertyfinder, and the management company of an American Ivy League University. This is the first time that many of these investors including GFC, PnP, Orange, Village Capital, have invested in a startup in Morocco.
Founded in early 2020 by wife and husband Sophia Alj and Ismael Belkhayat, two regional Endeavor Entrepreneurs, Chari partners with FMCG Multinationals and local manufacturers to distribute their goods to local mom and pop shops in less than 24h. It also provides payment facilities and financial services through the recent acquisition of Karny.ma.
This recent investment grounds the E-commerce industry in MENA in its ranking as the third-most fund ecosystem in 2021, driving the 73% YoY growth in capital raised as most recently recorded in MAGNiTT’s August 2021 Venture Investment Dashboard. Chari has also played a vital role in driving the record-breaking number of exits in MENA over 2021, backing 1 of 3 exits in Morocco aside from Waystocap (acquired by Egypt-based MaxAB) and Dabadoc (acquired by global Telecom company Orange MEA).
The post YC funding took four weeks to close, and the round values Chari at $70 million. The investor’s excitement to Chari comes as the startup addresses the procurement issues of the 300k grocery stores of Morocco and Tunisia. “‘We have carefully selected the VCs of this seed round based on their ability to help us build a great business. We are now focusing on achieving our short-term targets to raise a significant Serie A in six to nine months” Ismael Belkhayat, Cofounder and CEO of Chari highlighted.
The money raised will be used to expand Chari and Karny to French-Speaking Africa. In addition, Chari plans to embed financial services such as digital payment, money transfer, and BNPL in its product roadmap. "We are happy to lead the way of the nascent Moroccan startup ecosystem. We hope that this seed round will be one the first of a long series of noticeable seed funding in Moroccan Startups" Sophia Alj, Cofounder and COO of Chari concluded.
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