In a significant move, B2B e-commerce platform Marketforce has restructured its operations, retreating from three of its five markets and embarking on a quest to redefine its business model.
The Rise and Transformation of Marketforce
Marketforce, a dynamic B2B e-commerce startup, was conceived five years ago with a grand vision. Founded in 2018 by Tesh Mbaabu and Mesongo Sibuti, the company aspired to facilitate seamless B2B commerce, with a focus on the fintech sector. Marketforce swiftly expanded its reach across the African landscape, establishing a presence in five countries - Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda. An ambitious partnership with Cellulant further aimed to unlock the markets of Ethiopia and Ghana. Venture capital investors were attracted by Marketforce's asset-light business model, and the company's ascent seemed unstoppable.
Venture Capital Success
Venture capital funding flowed, propelling Marketforce into a position of prominence. The company clinched an impressive US$40 million in Series A funding in February 2022, highlighting the confidence investors had in its potential. Marketforce's core offering, the B2B commerce and fintech platform known as "RejaReja," became a vital conduit for connecting businesses and facilitating transactions. The platform rapidly gained traction, processing transactions worth more than US$500 million and weaving a network encompassing more than 250,000 retail outlets.
Amidst the dynamic evolution of the African tech ecosystem and shifting investor sentiment, Marketforce is taking strategic steps to reshape its future. The company has downscaled operations in three of its markets and now operates solely in Kenya and Uganda. This restructuring reflects Marketforce's agility in responding to market realities and its commitment to optimizing its presence where it can be most effective. Marketforce's decision to downsize is emblematic of a broader trend across the African startup landscape.
As the tech ecosystem navigates changing tides in venture capital funding, startups are being compelled to reassess their strategies. Notably, companies like Kenya's Sendy and Ghana's Dash have previously made the tough decision to halt their operations in response to these market dynamics.
Pioneering New Horizons
Tesh Mbaabu, CEO and Co-Founder of Marketforce, is resolute in the face of change. He states that Marketforce is now actively "exploring other high-margin opportunities in adjacent verticals, such as social commerce." This strategic pivot underscores Marketforce's adaptability and commitment to embracing new avenues with untapped potential.
In redefining its operational footprint and venturing into new territory, Marketforce exemplifies the ethos of adaptability and innovation. As the African tech landscape continues to evolve, this B2B e-commerce platform is emblematic of the startups that navigate change with a forward-looking perspective.
Marketforce's journey embodies the spirit of African entrepreneurship, where challenges become catalysts for innovation, and a dynamic market shapes resilient business models. In these transformative times, Marketforce sets its course for a future where opportunity and innovation go hand in hand.