Kenyan e-tailer Sky.Garden raises Series A from football star’s fund, Aavishkaar

 Kenyan e-tailer Sky.Garden raises Series A from football star’s fund, Aavishkaar

Nairobi-based ecommerce marketplace Sky.Garden has completed a Series A round of funding from a bunch of investors including Indian impact investor Aavishkaar.

The Luxembourg-based SANAD Fund for MSME, Japan’s Uncovered Fund and KSK Angel Fund also participated in the round, Sky.Garden said Monday.

KSK Angel Fund was founded by Japanese footballer Keisuke Honda, who had once played for Italian club AC Milan.

Uncovered Fund, a Japanese fund that is focused on Africa, had previously disclosed the investment. This means Sky.Garden added a few other investors to make the final close now.

This is the first Africa investment by Aavishkaar, though it has previously made bets on Southeast Asian companies.

The marketplace raised $4 million in the round, which has been in the works for a while. It comes three years after the startup raised $1.2 million in a seed round led by serial entrepreneur and early-stage Africa investor Jesper Drescher, Norway’s TRK Group, The Katapult Accelerator Follow-up Fund and a syndicate of Danish angels led by Futuristic.vc.

Founded in 2015, Sky.Garden is built as a managed marketplace for traders, small and medium enterprises as well as mature businesses to sell their products to consumers. It positions itself as a mobile-first software-as-a-service e-commerce platform for African retailers.

The marketplace allows inventory control and immediate payment reconciliation for merchants in an automated platform, where local shipping and payment options come out-of-the-box and customer care is handled by the Sky.Garden framework.

The venture was founded by Danish entrepreneurs Martin Majlund (CEO) and Christian Grubak. Majlund was previously head of global marketing technology at Carlsberg.

Sky.Garden joins a list of around 10 African e-commerce startups to have raised funding this year, as per data collated by The Capital Quest. Most of these ventures are in Egypt with furniture e-tailer Homzmart raising as much as $15 million in its Series A round.

Outside North Africa, social commerce platform Rabawa (Nigeria), PricePally (Nigeria) and Kasha, with operations in Rwanda and Kenya, have attracted early-stage investors.

The biggest ecommerce platform in Africa is Berlin-headquartered Jumia, which went public on the New York Stock Exchange two years ago.

Vivek Sinha

The Capital Quest