Kenyan startup Sukhiba Connect just secured $1.5 million in funding to grow beyond its home country.
The funding round was led by CRE Venture Capital and included support from Antler, EQ2 Ventures, Goodwater Capital, Chandaria Capital, and various angel investors.
Founded in 2021 by Ananth Gudipati as CEO and Abhinav Solipuram as CTO, Sukhiba focuses on B2B conversational commerce. It allows companies to sell to their clients using Meta’s messaging service, WhatsApp.
Initially, Sukhiba began as a community commerce platform that streamlined buyer orders and simplified bulk purchasing for manufacturers. However, they shifted to conversational commerce in the middle of the previous year due to the challenges of their previous model.
Now, sellers using Sukhiba can send notifications, organise customers, handle orders, and accept local payment options like M-PESA, a mobile money service. Customers can browse product catalogues, add or remove items from their carts, and complete their purchases within WhatsApp.
WhatsApp has made communication easier for communities, including buyers and sellers. While it has some in-app store features for businesses, some are missing, and local adaptations are needed.
Sukhiba, is using AI enabled and relevant features to fill these gaps and unlock more potential.
Sukhiba’s B2B conversational commerce tool is used by over 30 businesses, primarily large distributors and manufacturers, serving nearly 15,000 MSMEs, including retailers.
Manufacturers use Sukhiba to expand their customer base and reach new areas, especially as most of their sales teams operate offline. Sukhiba also provides tools to customise in-app support based on routes, such as allocating customers to sales representatives.