Kenya’s Workpay raises $2.7M Pre-Series A

Workpay, a Kenyan HR payroll provider has raised $2.7M in a Pre-Series A funding round from Launch AfricaSaviu Ventures, Acadian Ventures, Proparco, Fondation Botnar, Kara Ventures, AxianP1 Ventures, and Norrsken. Launched in 2019 by Paul Kimani and Jackson Kungu, Workpay offers tools that enable its clients to pay salaries in local currencies across Africa and outside the continent through the startup’s partners, file taxes, and process employee benefits.

The African continent raised $2.8Bn in 2022 across 688 deals, recording a slight decline in both funding and the total number of transactions owing to the economic pressures observed globally. While Nigeria remained the country of focus leading on the funding and deal front as seen in our FY2022 Africa Venture Investment Report, increasing interest has been observed in markets like Egypt, Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa.

The technological disruption in Africa is being aided by a rise in internet adoption, smartphone ownership, and a bulging youth demographic. To that avail, Kenya became the second-most funded and the third-most transacted geography in the continent. This was in part driven by the MEGA round closed by retail startup Wasoko as a result of which the country saw triple-digit growth in 2022. The top five rounds of 2022 captured almost 55% of the total funding raised by Kenya during the year.

Co-founder and CEO Kagure Wamunyu told TechCrunch in an interview that the startup is scaling its operations in the country, to keep up with the growing demand for construction materials. “We are growing very fast, and our problem has always been that we have way more demand than we can meet. Most of our customers are in counties beyond the capital, Nairobi, and the reason is that manufacturing is centralized in Nairobi, but customers are located throughout the country, and that is where we come in because we help with distribution,” said Wamunyu.

Jumba started out by serving retailers but afterward began supplying construction materials to developers. Jumba is aimed at simplifying the sourcing of construction materials through a common marketplace for retailers and developers, which takes away the headache of dealing with multiple suppliers.

“Ours is a one stop shop, we manage the sourcing, and logistics headache. By using our platform, they also have access to their documents and invoices, for them to reconcile.” Wamunyu added.

The startup is also working to solve the financing headache for retailers through short-term financing backed by its bank partners, with plans underway to avail long-term credit to developers too.

“Retailers can access financing through services like buy-now-pay-later from our bank partners. Construction sites will also have the ability to get the materials to complete the works in the near future,” concluded Wamunyu. “We put a lot of emphasis on understanding the customer, and what they need, their pain points, and then tailor our products to fit them. We are doing this so that we can unlock access, and cash flow.”

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