Morocco’s Chari gets $100-mn tag; Nigeria’s Frain bags pre-seed cheque

 Morocco’s Chari gets $100-mn tag; Nigeria’s Frain bags pre-seed cheque

Moroccan B2B e-commerce and fintech startup Chari has raised bridge funding from new and existing investors with a significant uptick in valuation, just three months after pocketing a record seed cheque.

Chari has raised an undisclosed amount in a bridge round at a valuation of $100 million. This is a mark-up of more than 40% over the post-money valuation of $70 million at which it had raised $5 million in October.

The bridge round was led by Saudi Arabia-based venture capital fund Khwarizmi Ventures. AirAngels (Airbnb Alumni Investors) and Afri Mobility, the venture capital arm of AKWA Group, also took part in the round.

Chari was founded in 2020 by entrepreneur couple Sophia Alj and Ismael Belkhayat. It aims to digitise the FMCG sector in French-speaking Africa by providing convenience stores with the ability to order the products they need.

Chari partners with FMCG multinationals and local manufacturers to distribute their goods to local mom-and-pop shops in less than 24 hours. It also provides payment facilities and financial services through the recent acquisition of

The new round will allow Chari to pilot its buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) services with grocery stores in Francophone Africa. It is operational in Morocco and Tunisia.

“Chari will use the money of this bridge round to test the BNPL services with its existing customers. Upon successful results, Chari will acquire a local credit company to enable shop owners to lend money to their end-users and further grow their business,” according to Ismael Belkhayat, CEO of Chari and a Cornell University alumnus.

The company had last October raised capital from Rocket Internet, Global Founders Capital and P1 Ventures. Other investors who pitched in were Plug and Play, Y Combinator, Village Capital, MetLife Foundation, Orange Digital Ventures, Air Angels, SPE Capital, Pincus Private Equity and Reflect Ventures.

The Chandaria family, Propertyfinder CEO and founder Michael Lahyani, and the management company of an American Ivy League university also participated in that round.

Chari had previously disclosed raising funding from Y Combinator, Plug and Play and Orange Digital Ventures.

The startup was incubated within the family holding H&S Invest Holding before joining the ranks of STATION F in Paris.


Nigerian developer-tooling startup Frain Technologies has raised $473,000 in a pre-seed funding round led by Rally Cap Ventures.

Other investors who participated in the round were Musha Ventures and Future Africa. A number of angel investors also pitched in. These include Eric Idiah, Tomiwa Lasebikan, Prosper Otemuyiwa, Odunayo Eweniyi, Timi Ajiboye and Opeyemi Awoyemi.

The company was founded last February by Subomi Oluwalana (CEO) and Emmanuel Aina (COO). It has developed a cloud-native webhook service that enables developers to push webhook events to their users swiftly.

Vivek Sinha

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