Thursday, July 25, 2024

YoLa Fresh, Morocco’s “GrubMarket,” raises $7M to link farmers and food sellers

Suppliers in Africa and other emerging markets deal with a number of challenges on a daily basis. These challenges range from environmental and labor issues to logistical challenges, food waste and poor demand and supply management. These issues affect stakeholders in different ways: farmers struggle to sell, while retailers face challenges in communicating effectively.

Many agtech startups have tried to address these issues by streamlining supply chains, bypassing middlemen and directly connecting retailers with farmers Examples include Frubana in Latin America, Meikai in China and Vecool in India. Following this model, YoLa Fresh, a startup based in Casablanca, Morocco, connects small farmers directly with traditional fruit and vegetable vendors

YoLa Fresh was co-founded by Youssef Mamou and Larbi Alaoui Belrhiti, who drew inspiration from similar start-ups and sought guidance from their founders. YoLa Fresh was launched in early 2023 and has since worked with over 1,000 retailers across North Africa, reaching $1 million in monthly merchandise volume (GMV) This rapid growth has been an A-. Funding for the Pre-Series has attracted $7 million.

Getting such an investment is impressive for any African start-up, especially in Morocco, where Moroccan technology is booming according to a Partek report that total investment in dollars 93 million last year shows it, including Chari and Fraterium There is a separate funding package for companies. Not only an important issue in an emerging market, YoLa Fresh’s appeal to investors is also backed by the impressive support of its founders.

Prior to Yola Fresh, Aloui founded and sold online promotional platform Avito and served as CEO of Jumia Morocco. Mamou was the CEO of Uber’s Careem and led the 212-person founding of the first incubator and VC in Morocco. Mamou’s farming family led him and Aloui to join the creation of Yola Fresh. Originally, Aloui had planned to run a small agricultural business but faced major challenges in the explosion of Morocco’s agricultural infrastructure. Together, they researched startups in such countries as India, Brazil, and Malaysia, learning from their role models and founders.

Aloui explained that Morocco’s complex market is similar to other emerging markets, small farmers account for about 80% of agriculture and traditional retail accounts for 90 to 95% of distribution The supply chain is fragmented, with multiple middlemen that Yola Fresh eliminates.

Despite its size, Morocco’s agricultural sector contributes 15% of its GDP, and local consumption is strong, with an estimated $5 billion to $6 billion spent annually on traditional trade This is similar to other African countries where supply chain inefficiencies affect small farmers and traditional retailers.

Yola Fresh plans to address these issues by connecting farmers with retailers and food companies, tracking products from farm to retail, and eliminating intermediaries. This approach aims to reduce costs for retailers and increase the profits earned by farmers, as well as balance supply and demand to reduce waste. YoLa Fresh provides transparency into harvest and finances.

Mamau revealed that YoLa Fresh offers orders before midnight the next day, ensuring high quality products at competitive prices. The company has reduced waste from 25-40% to about 6-7%, and aims to reduce it further to 3% by 2026. Currently, Yola Fresh goes through 1,200 tonnes of products per month, with customers keeping so the rate is 85% and an average of four salesperson per week Behavior. This strong customer loyalty gives the company a positive contribution towards the end of 2024 or early 2025.

Yola Fresh expects to generate $40 million to $50 million annually by 2026 and plans to expand beyond Morocco. Competition in other sub-Saharan African markets includes Wendy’s and Complete Farmer. Omar Lalej, CEO of Al Mada Ventures, and Tarek Assad, CEO of Algebra Ventures, both expressed confidence that Yola Fresh can transform agriculture in Morocco and across Africa, backed by investors E3 Capital, Django Capital, and FMO, Dutch business development fund.

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