Cellulant co-founder and former Group CEO, Ken Njoroge, has joined MarketForce as the Board Chairman. The entrepreneur recently participated in MarketForce’s Series A round funding as the tech company raised $40 million.
Ken is famous for his work at Cellulant having been the co-founder and also served as the Group CEO for 17 years. He co-founded Cellulant in 2003 alongside Bolaji Akinboro and both developed the company to what it is today.
The self-styled evangelist of mobile commerce said that he left his CEO role at Cellulant as he wanted to spend more time with family. This was also in the midst of the fallout of “a major internal crisis” that rocked the company in August 2020.
Cellulant was founded in Kenya around the same time as Nigerian payment companies Interswitch and eTranzact. These three have been pivotal to accelerating digital payments on two of the continent’s most tech-driven markets.
The Kenyan-born Njoroge initially started Cellulant with Bolaji Akinboro, a Nigerian, as a music ringtone revenue-sharing business to help musicians make money when users downloaded their songs.
The business pivoted to digital payments soon after. Today, it is an internationally acclaimed company that serves 12 markets through partnerships with about 28 mobile operators and 31 banks.
Ken Njoroge, the Cellulant co-founder joins MarketForce at a time when the company has a lot of promise for a bright future. MarketForce has raised this $40 million after concluding a pre-Series A round.
The round was led by V8 Capital Partners – a London and Lagos based African-focused investment vehicle – with participation from Ten13 VC, SOSV Select Fund, Vu Ventures, Vastly Valuable Ventures, Uncovered Fund, along several existing investors; Reflect Ventures, Greenhouse Capital, Century Oak Capital and Remapped Ventures. The oversubscribed round was made up of equity and debt.
MarketForce was co-founded in 2018 by Tesh Mbaabu and Mesongo Sibuti and is now a leading B2B commerce and fintech marketplace that empowers informal merchants in Africa. The firm helps these informal merchants to order, pay and receive inventory digitally and conveniently, access financing, collect digital payments and make extra money by reselling digital financial services such as airtime, electricity tokens and bill payments.
With this round of funding, MarketForce plans to scale merchant inventory financing through a BNPL offering, grow deeper in existing markets and avail more digital financial and banking services through its extensive merchant network. MarketForce has a team of 400 and intends to double the team before the end of the year.