JABU, Esaal, Cloudfret, Natrify get VC funding; Tactful AI gets a buyer

 JABU, Esaal, Cloudfret, Natrify get VC funding; Tactful AI gets a buyer

Namibian business-to-business e-commerce startup JABU, which raised seed funding just four months ago, has secured $15 million in a Series A funding led by Tiger Global.

Box Group, Knollwood and D Global Ventures also participated in the round. Seed-stage investors Afore Capital, Oldslip and FJ Labs chipped in, too.

The funding round was completed in March, according to Techcrunch. This means it happened around the same time another B2B ecommerce peer, Kenya’s Wasoko, got a $125 million cheque from Tiger Global and others.

JABU was founded in mid-2020 and is led by David Akinin. The startup connects retailers to local and multinational suppliers. It also helps them in digitizing orders, payments and logistics. It has its own fleet of vehicles and eight distribution centres.

JABU recently came out of stealth mode and is believed to be one of the first Namibian startups to get into Y Combinator’s accelerator batch.

The money from the fresh funding will be used to penetrate deeper in southern Africa and expand to new markets like Botswana and Eswatini by December.

JABU joins other larger peers like Wasoko, TradeDepot, Chari, Capiter, MaxAB, Twiga and MarketForce aiming at the B2B ecommerce market in the African continent.


Egyptian health-tech startup Esaal has raised $1.7 million in seed funding from A15 to scale its operations across its home market as well as the wider Middle East and North Africa region.

Founded in 2018 by Fadi Doss, Esaal is a telemedicine platform that offers audio, visual and in-person consultations with experts on topics ranging from anxiety, physiotherapy and pediatrics to nutrition via a subscription-based revenue model.

Besides Egypt, Esaal’s services are currently available in Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Palestine and Iraq. It says it has onboarded 350 consultants on its platform.


Moroccan SaaS startup Cloudfret has secured $1 million in a funding round led by Plug and Play, PRC Ventures ICAV, Azur Innovation Fund, AfriMobility and angel investor Khalid Zitouni. The deal values it at $20 million.

Founded last year by Driss Jabar, CloudFret seeks to connect shippers to a network of carriers in Africa and Europe and claims it has onboarded around five dozen freight customers in Europe and Africa and plans to enlist 4,000 vehicles.

The money will be used to hire people, launch new loyalty services and deepen its presence in the two target continents.


Egyptian biotechnology startup Natrify said Thursday it has raised a six-figure (under $1 million) pre-seed round from Ambo ventures, a recently launched, sustainability-focused $50 million VC fund focused on investing in startups based in Africa.

Founded in 2020 by Abdullah Al-Atrash, Amr Galal and Ahmed Hassanen, Natrify says it offers a sustainable and biodegradable alternative to single-use plastic. It recently developed its first product, Adigide, a bioplastic that is biodegradable in many environments.

It says it is on track to launch its pilot facility in Egypt, with plans to launch in the UK.

Tactful AI

Belgium-based business communications provider Dstny has acquired six-year-old Egypt and the UK-based Tactful AI for an undisclosed sum.

Tactful was founded by Mohamed Elmasry, Mohammad Hassan and Sherif Khairallah. Its Unified Customer Experience Platform (UCX) is an AI and data-centric solution that helps business users to manage, engage and understand the customer journey across multiple touchpoints. It includes an omnichannel digital contact centre, multilingual conversational chatbots and conversational analytics.

The acquisition extends Dstny’s products portfolio and helps companies enhance customer engagement operations across modern digital and traditional voice channels.

Vivek Sinha

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