Tech-led biofuel startup Koko Networks launches new consumer goods business in Kenya – TechMac

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Tech-led biofuel startup Koko Networks launches new consumer goods business in Kenya – TechCrunch

Koko Networks, a Kenya-based bio-fuel know-how enterprise has prolonged its enterprise to cowl different fast-moving shopper items, via a brand new tech platform that can capitalize on its established distribution networks in low-income neighborhoods.

Koko Membership, its new business-line, will promote the merchandise on to shoppers via the dukas (small retailers) that presently function the corporate’s brokers for its bio-ethanol cooking gasoline and stoves.

The Koko Membership merchandise, which will probably be displayed in designated areas inside the brokers’ small retailers, will solely be offered to registered Koko Membership members.

The store homeowners (brokers) will use Koko’s PoS system to enroll clients, capturing their biodata, and issuing them with an digital card that they’ll use when shopping for merchandise from any Koko Membership store.

The playing cards will probably be linked to an e-wallet, much like the one presently used to buy Koko’s bio-fuel, and which could be topped up by way of cellular cash and different applied sciences.

Koko Membership will supply merchandise immediately from producers and handle the stock via a real-time administration system that forestalls stock-outs, along with offering correct market analytics.

With 35 SKUs beneath its portfolio, initially, Koko Membership will maintain the costs of its merchandise aggressive by shortening the availability chains from producer to shoppers.

“We’re focusing on low-income households by bringing them the advantages of higher merchandise, decrease costs and comfort. That is along with ensuring that we’ve got the fitting assortment of merchandise on a regular basis,” Koko Networks co-founder and chief innovation officer Sagun Saxena advised TechMac. Gray Murray is the startup’s different co-founder and CEO.

Koko Membership is a know-how enabled retail platform focusing on shoppers within the low-income neighborhoods. Picture Credit: Koko Networks

Micro-retail shops, which account for 80% of sub-Saharan Africa’s family retail commerce, are essential for supplying shoppers with groceries and different home items.

These casual retailers are often situated inside a strolling distance making them handy to customers, with the added benefit of extending credit score traces to loyal consumers.

The contributions of those casual retailers to economies, subsequently, can’t be ignored as they account for the overwhelming majority of commerce within the retail sector throughout the continent.

These retailers, nevertheless, frequently undergo challenges like stockouts, variability in earnings, and insufficient financing making it laborious for them to develop.

These are among the gaps that Koko Membership is planning to bridge, particularly on the difficulty of stockouts — seeing that the brokers don’t require capital to restock.

Modernizing casual commerce is thought to be one of many methods for unlocking credit score and the potential of those small micro-retail shops in addition to bettering the lives of small enterprise homeowners. Saxena stated Koko Membership’s enterprise mannequin provides producers direct entry to this market phase.

“Many of those producers have armies of those who go into the neighborhoods to be sure that their merchandise are being positioned correctly and that these retailers are styled. They even must have individuals on the market to determine what costs the retailers are promoting at,” he stated.

“So, we handle a lot of that for them; we are able to inform them proper now, precisely what number of of their merchandise are there and their value tags, and all that sort of data.”

The Koko Membership concept was conceived mid 2020 however it wasn’t till the start of this 12 months that the startup moved ahead with its launch, using on the success of its bioethanol gasoline enterprise, which was unveiled in 2019 as a cleaner, cheaper and safer various to charcoal and fuelwood.

At the moment, there are over 300,000 households utilizing Koko’s bioethanol gasoline and range (made in Koko’s plant in India) from about 100,000 in March this 12 months. These households are served by the over 1,000 brokers, who will now double up as Koko Membership brokers.

The Koko gasoline enterprise has in simply over two years grown past Kenya’s capital Nairobi following a latest launch within the coastal metropolis of Mombasa, with plans to enter Nakuru and Kisumu within the first half of 2022.

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