Wasoko and MaxAB merge operations to transform Africa’s retail e-commerce sector

Two of Africa’s most prominent e-commerce companies, Wasoko and MaxAB, have announced that they have signed preliminary merger terms to join together as a combined entity to drive the transformation of Africa’s informal retail sector. The merger is aimed to bolster the growth and development of the e-commerce pioneers to establish the most successful digital retail platform on the continent.

As the largest tech merger in Africa, Wasoko and MaxAB will have a collective customer base of over 450,000 merchants serving about over 65 million consumers with essential goods in their local communities in 8 African countries: Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and DRC. Since the start of 2023, both companies have experienced sustained traction with Wasoko’s monthly revenue increasing by 30% and its sub-Saharan African network of merchants rising by over 20%. Equally, MaxAB has grown its monthly active merchant network by 25% and its fintech transaction volumes by over 50%. Both companies have also made significant strides towards profitability, which will be accelerated through the combination of elite talent and capabilities across markets. Through the merger, Wasoko and MaxAB also expect to collaborate deeply on enabling greater intra-Africa trade between their markets and implementing new technologies on a pan-African scale.

(TOP: Belal El-Megharbel, the CEO of MaxAB and Daniel Yu, the CEO of Wasoko).

The force behind Wasoko and MaxAB’s market leadership lies not only in their B2B e-commerce offering but also in their integrated payment solutions, merchant financing and proprietary logistics operations at the heart of both businesses. Through the shared pan-African vision of both startups to address major challenges inhibiting the development of Africa’s $850bn informal retail sector, this collaboration will empower the combined companies to further strengthen its infrastructure while harnessing cross-market synergies.

Speaking on the merger, MaxAB CEO Belal El-Megharbel, stated: “This merger is the culmination of developing excellent teams, a lot of hard work over the years and a commitment to innovative solutions adding up to our unique offering to retailers. I am proud of what we have achieved as MaxAB, and even more excited for our future together with Wasoko. As a combined company, we can truly unlock the potential of Africa’s informal retail sector across a variety of technology-enabled services in e-commerce, fintech and logistics. As we embark on this new chapter, I am confident that the natural synergies between us will empower our customers and partners across the continent.”

Wasoko CEO Daniel Yu added: “When I launched Wasoko in Kenya in 2016, it was with the promise of becoming a truly pan-African company, and this merger is the boldest step we’ve taken towards realising that goal while reflecting my personal history developing the initial concept behind Wasoko during my time spent in Egypt over a decade ago. As we embark on our next stage of expansion, our merger with MaxAB underscores our commitment to empowering businesses and connecting consumers across all parts of the African continent with an affordable and diverse range of essential products. We are excited to go further together on our shared vision, bolstered by complementary strengths while building the foundation for a remarkable partnership.”

Belal and Daniel are committed to shaping the long-term future of the company together, and will both continue as full-time executive leaders in the company following the completion of the merger, which remains subject to internal approvals and other customary closing conditions. As part of the merger transaction, the combined business has received additional investment and has substantial runway to reach profitability while pursuing new opportunities.

MaxAB is the pioneer and leading B2B e-commerce player in the Middle East and North Africa. It was established in 2018 as an e-commerce platform allowing local underserved merchants and mom-and-pop shops in Egypt and Morocco to grow, increase their revenues, and enhance their own quality of life. MaxAB strives to empower retailers through its unique super app. In addition to its e-commerce services, MaxAB introduced MaxAB Payments in 2021. MaxAB Payments is a fintech service that enables local merchants to accept payments for various services that their end customers may require. MaxAB also launched its LAAS service in 2022 enabling retailers to deliver B2C e-commerce shipments for prominent B2C e-commerce platforms.

Wasoko is the largest e-commerce platform serving informal retailers across sub-Saharan Africa. Wasoko enables retailers to restock products for their businesses at any time via mobile app with free same-day delivery. Through Wasoko’s platform, shop owners are able to purchase goods from manufacturers and distributors at competitive prices while also accessing financing through Wasoko’s proprietary credit scoring program. Wasoko is revolutionising access to essential goods and services across Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and the DRC.


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