Launched in May 2017, Sky.Garden is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for mobile commerce that is built specifically for African businesses. Its easy-to-use online marketplace allows informal traders, SMEs and established businesses to sell their products.
Its technology has been built with a strong focus on African sellers and adapted to tap into the extensive logistics network of informal and structured shipping across the continent.
Sky.Garden raised a US$1.2 million seed funding round in 2018, and it has now taken on a further US$4 million in capital via a Series A round featuring SANAD Fund for MSME, Aavishkaar, UNCOVERED FUND and KSK Angel Fund, the latter founded by Japanese former AC Milan footballer Keisuke Honda.
The investment will be used to accelerate the startup’s growth. Since its launch, thousands of stores in Kenya have opened webshops through Sky.Garden, which allows a retailer on one side of Kenya to sell products to a customer on the other side without any tech background. Purchased items will be delivered within 24 hours, and the money paid into the vendor’s account when the customer accepts the item.
“Sky.Garden’s sole focus is to provide African sellers with best-in-class technology to access and reap the benefits of online commerce. This investment round will allow Sky.Garden to drive impact at scale. I’m looking forward to an exciting new chapter with these great partners pioneering e-commerce with the African entrepreneur in mind,” said Martin Majlund, chief executive officer (CEO) of Sky.Garden.
SANAD board chairperson Dr Daniela Beckmann said SANAD had long promoted the power of technology for financial inclusion and business growth.
“The pandemic has underscored the importance of digital solutions in ensuring flexible, sustainable operations for entrepreneurs. We are very pleased to be joining forces with Sky.Garden, an impactful company expanding access to the benefits of e-commerce to the locally owned businesses that drive the engine of the economy and are at the core of SANAD’s mission. With an investment into Sky.Garden, we will also enable technology transfer for the benefit of entrepreneurs in the region,” she said.
Ashish Patel, partner at Aavishkaar Capital, said COVID-19 had accelerated the need for the large but highly fragmented and unorganised retail industry in Africa to access the digital economy.
“Sky.Garden is at the forefront at offering these businesses, transformative tools to fully capitalise on the uniquely African e-commerce opportunity, emerging as one of the leading e-commerce enabling platforms on the continent,” he said.