The duo founded a firm, MarketForce, in 2018. The rationale then was to consolidate smaller retail kiosks and their distribution channels.
Prior to the formation of MarketForce, the micro-industry was characterized by fragmentation. As a result, the functions of promotion, storage and transportation logistics were of major concern across small-time suppliers and retailers. Their only remedy was that production costs remained at a minimum as goods were imports.
Through its web of agents, MarketForce was able to forge a consortium of small local companies whose distribution of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) was integrated. Moving goods became cheaper as well as financial flexibility of small and micro-businesses.
RejaReja, the duo’s latest masterpiece, is a startup formed in December 2020. It is an e-commerce platform for traders. In Kiswahili, RejaReja means â€˜retailâ€™.
The premise behind this startup was the need to activate a comprehensive sales and distribution platform for emerging markets in Kenya and the region.
Being a brainchild of MarketForce, RejaReja offers next-day delivery for numerous (Stock Keeping Units) SKUs from a handful of (fast-moving consumer groups)FMCG brands across Nairobi and even beyond borders.
The two alumni of Nairobi University tailored RejaReja to operate with minimum assets. It does not own capital holdings such as warehouses or delivery trucks.
Most of the assets are owned and provided by the firmâ€™s partners including manufacturers, distributors and other third-party providers of transport. These parties lease the mentioned properties to fulfil orders.
Shops using RejaReja have access to merchandise through a mobile application. Retailers can place orders on the platform. MarketForce can extend working capital loans, based on their ordering track record.
The startup is currently active in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. More than 15,000 retail customers use RejaReja to process orders on a daily basis.
â€œRetail distribution is a very hardcore business so getting the right talent, the right people who understand the traditional elements in the business but are also willing to innovate and revolutionize space has also been interesting for us,â€ the CEO, Mbaabu, opined.
With the newly acquired funds, MarketForce looks forward to expanding operations to Nigeria in the near future. This plan is informed by the current successes of RejaReja in East Africa, from which the young co-founders were able to forecast deliberately. RejaReja will also reinforce its presence in East Africa and push more products in smaller towns.