After leaving their previous positions, former Jumia Kenya executives have launched a new e-commerce, called “Kapu” (short form for ‘kikapu’ or basket in Swahili) that allows customers in cities to shop and save on their weekly grocery needs. The company’s mission is to bring down the cost of living for consumers in Africa.
Kapu’s model is designed for the Kenyan consumer. Customers buy the products they usually buy, in the quantities they want. The range is larger than the kiosk, including quality fresh produce from Kenyan farms, and at wholesale prices. Goods are delivered for free the next day, to a Kapu Agent collection center near their homes.
(TOP: Kapu CEO Sam Chappatte – second from left – flanked by customers and guests during the formal launch of the company in Nairobi).
By sourcing directly from farms (for agricultural produce) and manufacturers (for other FMGC products), thereby creating a low-cost logistics model and minimal food waste, Kapu can sustainably pass on savings to their customers. These customers access even lower prices if they place the order as a group (“pamoja”).
To use the service, consumers order with their local Kapu agent and soon directly on WhatsApp. Orders placed before 9pm are delivered the next day for free to a local Agent.
Speaking during the launch, Kapu CEO Sam Chappatte (who we profiled here), said: “We think it’s unfair that consumers in Kenya spend 40% of their income on food, when Americans spend 6%. This is a huge blocker to social mobility. Our goal at Kapu is to build the most relevant model of e-commerce for the majority of urban consumers in Africa. By working with existing community groups and local entrepreneurs, we believe we can play a part in reducing the costs of goods, and unlocking opportunities for millions of people”.
Kapu started its operations earlier this year and today has more than 1,500 Kapu Agent Collection Centers in Nairobi. They are branded and easily identifiable in areas like Eastlands, Kasarani, Kawangware, South B, Kibra, Embakasi, Githurai and Kiambu. Kapu plans to open up access to its services across Nairobi by March 2023.
Kapu agents include mama mbogas, salons, and individuals such as stay-at-home-mums and students, who are able to earn an extra income – whilst helping their communities save more.
“Once a customer tries Kapu, our data shows that they quickly adopt Kapu for their weekly grocery shopping needs. It works because our model is relevant – we sell the products people want, affordably, and work with trusted community partners. In our first year of operations we will have saved consumers Khs 40 million, be on track to deliver 1 million orders annually and working towards profitability,” added Chappatte.
Apart from CEO Sam Chappatte, other Kapu founding executives from Jumia include Cyrus Onyiego, the Kapu COO (and former Jumia Trvael MD and Jumia Food COO); Stanislas Barth, the Kapu Head of Supply (ex-Jumia Head of Offline Sales); Meera Dhanani, the Kapu Head of Marketing (ex-Jumia CMO).
Customers who want to try the service can dial 7898# to register and get Kshs 50 cash back on their first order. Once registered, they can place an order with a KAPU branded agent in their neighborhoods.
In an interview with TechCrunch, the Kapu CEO said that they’d raised $8 million in seed funding. The seed round was co-led by Giant Ventures and Firstminute Capital, with participation from Founder Collective, Base Capital, Norrsken (Klarna co-founder Niklas Adalberth’s fund) and Raven One. They join Kapu’s early backers, including India’s Meesho and Brazil’s Facily co-founders, and a number of African family offices, Twitter’s Biz Stone, Supercell’s Ilkka Paananen, Tom Blomfield of Monzo and serial entrepreneur Alexander Rittweger.
Kapu says it has 1,500 agent collection centers across Nairobi, and will, in its next phase of growth, work to fully penetrate Kenya’s capital before expanding to new markets.
Launched in Kenya in 2022, Kapu aims to reduce the cost of living and save consumers in Africa $1 billion. To achieve this goal, Kapu is building the most relevant B2C e-commerce model for the majority of urban consumers. The company was founded by an experienced team, launched in Kenya and is backed by top global investors.