East African women’s health tech startup secures $1-million

https://www.facebook.com/kasharw/photos/2735782646707965

East African tech startup, Kasha has received $1-million investment from Swedfund, a Swedish Development Finance institution. 

The investment will be utilised to promote the women-focused eCommerce platform’s overall aim to ensure that women are provided viable, secure, and easy access to education surrounding their reproductive health, contraceptives, menstrual, beauty, and health products.

In addition, the financial support will assist in expanding Kasha’s offering across Kenya and Rwanda. 

Kasha receives $1 million investment fund from Swedfund to expand the platform

In an official press release, Maria Håkansson, CEO of Swedfund, explains the objective to strengthen sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and the importance of investing in Kasha.

‘‘Social stigma around sexual and reproductive health in Africa is very common leading to women not getting access to the right information and safe products to make empowered decisions about their health. Our investment aims to strengthen SRHR – the right to decide over one’s own body, sexuality and reproduction are fundamental for the work with human rights, and against discrimination. Kasha is a women-founded and women-led tech company, that strives to make it easier for women, especially low-income women, to access genuine products and information for their health and personal care.’’

Pioneering inclusivity

Kasha was founded in Rwanda in 2016 by two former Microsoft employees, Joanna Bichsel and Amanda Arch. The startup has since expanded to Kenya.

Kasha collaborates with various corporations and organizations that support their vision of providing underprivileged women with products and services that are of high quality. Targeted at women in underserved communities, Kasha Global allows users to purchase the mentioned items digitally via any type of smartphone. In addition, users are able to make informative decisions on their purchase with accessible educational information detailed with each product available. 

Women without an internet connection or a smartphone can still access the digital platform, which contributes to inclusivity in the marketplace by supporting offline and online eCommerce. 

The African tech startup’s business model focuses on three core factors which include, access to health products, access to health information, employment opportunities, and improved livelihoods for low-income women. Kasha uses female technology known as Femtech to create innovative solutions to improve the health of women. 

Low-income women located in urban and rural areas, who are unable to access affordable and quality health products, make up 65% of Kasha’s customers. Over 200 trained agents who are also low-income women in Rwanda and Kenya, provide Kasha customers with accurate information, aggregate orders, and offer last-mile delivery to customers.

Expanding Kasha

The $1-million investment received from Swedfund allows Kasha to accelerate growth and impact across Kenya and Rwanda. The probability to improve the platform, and support its expansion into other African countries has increased due to the investment fund. 

Joanna Bichsel, Kasha Founder, and CEO said the partnership with Swedfund is crucial in the expansion of Kasha.

“Kasha is thrilled to be able to partner with Swedfund, a purpose-driven investor with extensive experience investing in developing markets. We feel strong alignment with Swedfund in scaling Kasha to one day serve millions of women in Africa and beyond, ensuring that all women have the health and personal care products they need to live their best lives.”

Swedfund continuously aims to invest in the healthcare industry, to drive equality and accessibility to quality healthcare products and services for all population groups. 

Due to Covid-19, there is an increase in the need for private sector investments in third world countries. 

Read more: West African solar startup secures $5-million in funding
Read more: Finnfund invests $1m in East African ecommerce site Kasha

Featured image: Joanna Bichsel, co-founder and CEO of Kasha, Facebook 

Ishani Chetty: Editor
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