MarketForce, a prominent Kenyan startup backed by Y Combinator, has announced a strategic pivot, shuttering its B2B e-commerce arm, RejaReja, to redirect its focus towards social commerce. This bold move reflects the company's commitment to adaptability and innovation in response to evolving market dynamics.

The Decision Behind the Move

In a recent blog post, Tesh Mbaabu, co-founder of MarketForce, revealed the decision to shut down RejaReja, citing challenges with profitability due to razor-thin margins and intense price competition in the B2B e-commerce landscape. Despite efforts to sustain the business model, the company concluded that maintaining RejaReja was no longer viable.

MarketForce's New Venture

In place of RejaReja, MarketForce introduces Chpter, a pioneering social commerce platform equipped with AI-powered conversational capabilities. This innovative solution aims to empower business owners by automating conversations on popular social media platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram, revolutionizing the way businesses engage with their customers.

MarketForce's journey in the B2B e-commerce sphere began with RejaReja, offering a platform for neighbourhood merchants to procure goods from FMCGs and access digital financing. However, the landscape's intense competition and the inherent challenges of sustaining profitability prompted MarketForce to reassess its strategy.

From Milestones to Adaptation

While MarketForce experienced significant milestones, including raising substantial funds and supporting a vast network of merchants, the shifting dynamics of the B2B e-commerce sector necessitated a strategic shift. The initial enthusiasm from investors has waned, prompting MarketForce to realign its focus with emerging market trends.

The B2B e-commerce sector has witnessed notable developments, including mergers and restructuring among key players like Wasoko and MaxAB. Additionally, startups like Alerzo have grappled with financial hurdles, underscoring the sector's evolving nature and the need for adaptability to ensure sustainability.

MarketForce's Collaboration with Pezesha

MarketForce encountered challenges meeting financial obligations to its credit partner, Pezesha, yet the two entities collaborated to resolve the issue internally, mitigating the risk of a liquidation suit. This proactive approach demonstrates MarketForce's commitment to fostering mutually beneficial partnerships and overcoming obstacles.

Embracing Change for Future Growth

As MarketForce embarks on its new chapter with Chpter, it underscores the company's resilience and agility in navigating complex market landscapes. By embracing change and leveraging innovative solutions, MarketForce reaffirms its commitment to driving meaningful impact and empowering businesses in Africa's dynamic digital ecosystem.