Moroccan retail technology start-up Chari began its expansion into sub-Saharan Africa with the acquisition of the Ivorian app Diago.
Founded in 2020 by Ismael and Sophia Belkhayat, Chari enables owners of traditional convenience stores in Morocco to order products and have them delivered. It works with more than 50% of convenience stores in Casablanca, has expanded into Tunisia and announced in August the acquisition of the Karny credit book mobile application.
Participating in the Y Combinator S21 batch, the company raised $5 million late last year and secured new investment in January. It is now continuing its expansion by establishing itself in Côte d’Ivoire with the 100% acquisition of Diago, an application that connects local businesses to FMCG producers and importers.
Founded in 2021 by Amidou Diarra and Ali Ouattara, two former managers of Glovo and PepsiCo, Diago operates exclusively in Abidjan. Diarra and Outtara will remain CEO and COO, respectively, and oversee local business growth before expanding the app’s footprint to other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
“The whole Diago team will benefit from the full support functions of Chari. Chari’s back office in Casablanca will help the Diago team in setting up operations, IT tools and customer service,” said Cyrille Jacques, Chari’s vice president in charge of international expansion.
After a successful proof of concept in Morocco, Chari aims to become a leader in its space throughout French-speaking Africa.
“The secret to successful expansion is to build a local team that understands local market dynamics. The real challenge is to convince local entrepreneurs to partner with Chari to grow faster. We continue to surround ourselves with ambitious young entrepreneurs from French-speaking Africa to build together a pan-African giant in the distribution of FMCG products and financial services,” said Ismael Belkhayat, co-founder and CEO of Chari.