Finnish development financier Finnfund has invested $1-million in Kasha, an e-commerce platform that aims to improves women’s access to health, hygiene and self-care products in East Africa.
Kasha was founded in Rwanda in 2016 by two former Microsoft employees, Joanna Bichsel and Amanda Arch. The startup has since expanded to Kenya.
The company sells menstrual care products, contraceptives, pharmaceuticals and a range of beauty products via its own platform, accessible through basic phones and a website and delivered to customers confidentially.
Kasha, which netted $1m from Finnfund, is preparing for an active role in protecting people from Covid-19
In an announcement yesterday Finnfund said the startup has served over 55 000 clients, of which 75% are from low-income groups, and has delivered close to 600 000 products, including over 275 000 health products.
Finnfund said it started negotiations with Kasha in February 2020.
Finnfund investment manager Johanna Raehalme said during the investment process, Kasha’s role has become more relevant than ever. “At the moment, they are preparing for an active role in protecting people from Covid-19”, said Raehalme.
Bichsel, Kasha’s CEO, confirms this: “Kasha is already serving as a safe way to get hand sanitisers, antibacterial soaps, masks, gloves and eventually Covid-19 diagnostic rapid tests. Our content channels also provide access to information on how to protect yourself from the virus.”
In Rwanda and Kenya, Kasha is supporting the directives of the Ministry of Health, having optimizing Kasha to effectively serve as a channel for the safe delivery of Covid-19-protection related products, information and services”, she said.
Even data around purchases related to the new coronavirus and their demographics or geographic “hot spots” based on various indicators could be shared, she said. Kasha is also part of a technical working group identifying technology solutions to help with the situation.
Finnfund said it is committed to investing €105-million in businesses that advance gender equality between 2019 and 2021.