- Victor spent almost a decade at DHL Express and at some point led the East and South African region. He has extensive experience in logistics and business in 31 countries in Africa. After DHL, he moved on to the startup world and launched businesses in various African markets such as Cote d'iVoire, Ghana and Nigeria before launching Duhqa. Under his leadership, Duhqa has seen tremendous growth and won over 5 international awards including Seedstars and Financial times SDG challenge, Unicorn battle of Africa, Wazo challenge East Africa, Entrepreneur of the year from Afric Angels and CX eCommerce awards in Canada.
Founded in 2021 by Victor Maina, Davis Angwenyi and Dudu Moilwa, Duhqa is a B2B retail tech platform that empowers informal African merchants to digitally source and pay for inventory, get delivery conveniently and access short-term financing. This approach maximizes efficiency across the sales and supply distribution chain.
Its platform optimizes the informal microstores called “Dukas” in Kenya by connecting them to manufacturers and has onboarded over 5,000 merchants so far.
The Kenya startup is asset-light and doesn’t own vehicles or warehouses but works with third-party logistics providers. Suppliers using the platform have dashboards to see delivery locations for their products, check key performance indicators and book merchandising. They can also advertise and run marketing campaigns at shops, perform product giveaways and tap into merchandising revenue.
Duhqa operated in stealth mode for much of last year. It joined Techstars during the accelerator’s October 2021 batch, the first time for a Kenyan startup. After raising US$ 150,000 in pre-seed funding last year, they have now closed a seed round of US$2 million, seven months later. The round attracted participation from CrossFund, Roselake Ventures, and Mo Angels. It also features a number of existing investors, including Techstars and strategic local angels.
Ben, the co-founder of CrossFund says “CrossFund is proud to be investing in Duhqa as they grow across Eastern Africa. Victor and team have shown that they understand the market, its pain points, and how to best deliver daily necessities to the local communities that need them most. We look forward to supporting Duhqa in scaling their logistics capabilities so that they can widen their impact and continue improving the quality of life of everyday people”
Speaking about the investment, Mo Angels spokesman said. “We are excited to join Duhqa as it expands in Kenya and beyond. We have been truly inspired and impressed by its sharp team, its business model and look forward to helping them along the way to conquering this key link in giving greater access to goods and services to underserved communities.”
Roselake says “Duhqa not only has a deep understanding of the supply chain pain points faced by local retailers, but also offers an effective solution to address them. In addition, Duhqa is creating tremendous social value by bridging the gap between retailers and manufacturers to offer affordable daily goods for local communities. We look forward to being a long-term partner of Duhqa’s A-class team and support them to further expand their outreach.
With this round of funding, Duhqa plans to develop existing markets, and avail more tech tools to its growing merchant network. Duhqa runs an asset-light model currently with a team of 40, and intends to triple its size before the end of the year.
“Our goal is to address the gaps in African distribution logistics with the best in Logistics, e-commerce, financing and data insights which are needed to build a better, leaner African distribution sector. The significant demand for our solution, an improved way for companies to distribute their goods and services to mass markets in Africa has caught on. We are thrilled to get a boost from returning and new investors at this crucial time. This will enable us to continue making it easier for retailers to trade by connecting them to manufacturers and give them the resources to be efficient” says Victor Maina the CEO & Founder.