Yebo Fresh: Story, Founders, Investors & Funding Rounds
The company started at the end of 2018 when Jessica Boonstra who is the Founder & CEO and a British entrepreneur, Stefan Allesch-Taylor decided to address the challenges and opportunities of food supply in South Africa’s townships.
Yebo Fresh (YF) is an award-winning e-commerce platform on a mission to provide township entrepreneurs and community organizations with ease of access to high-quality goods and services through their smart technology.
Jessica and the Yebo Fresh team have dedicated themselves to addressing the struggles of half a million township entrepreneurs and community organizations who face increased product costs due to travel, as well as lost trading time in acquiring the goods they need to be competitive against the more formal retailers and outlets.
These township entrepreneurs and community organizations, which contribute in large part to the formation of the backbone of South Africa’s economy, experience a severe disadvantage when competing with formal retail/outlets that rely on cost-effective delivery options, advanced retail technology & analytics, and massive buying power.
However, Yebo Fresh has already made unparalleled roads into the township sector, helping to remedy this situation by harnessing a tech-driven order-to-delivery solution that allows customers to place an order and get free 24-hour delivery of goods to their doorstep with a no-good-money back guarantee.
Yebo Fresh gives financial services solutions such as buy-now-pay-later offerings, allowing these much-needed township entrepreneurs and community organizations to grow their stock and pay up to seven days later.
Through Yebo Fresh, these entrepreneurs now have access to supplier-funded perks such as free products and getting paid for running local marketing campaigns.
More than this, Yebo Fresh is creating network effects and aggregated learnings between stores, such as insights on pricing, products, and other relevant business intelligence.
Moreover, by mapping, digitizing, and creating a powerful delivery infrastructure for the communities served, Yebo Fresh creates a digital and physical gateway into the “Kasi” which is monetized in a variety of ways.
Yebo Fresh now operates in more than 25 major townships across greater Cape Town and Johannesburg and has taken on more than 5300 entrepreneurs and community organizations as customers, with an ever-expanding offering underpinned by technology.
The e-commerce company aims to revolutionize the way goods are distributed in South African townships by building a physical and digital gateway into this often-neglected market.
Additionally, the company has grown quickly, especially in the wake of increased demand, and now occupies a 1,200sqm warehouse with over 35 full-time employees.
How it Works
Yebo Fresh works to make it easy for independent businesses to purchase groceries and other essential items.
Orders are placed via WhatsApp or through the Yebo Fresh team of field sales agents, resulting in what the company calls a streamlined purchasing process.
Using a dark store-based fulfillment model, Yebo Fresh can deliver orders within 24 hours, eliminating the cost and hassle of shopping trips to wholesalers.
Additionally, Yebo Fresh offers a buy-now-pay-later option. This process is guided by customer insights and algorithms and opens the door to informal businesses that do not currently have access to formal loans.
The startup is exclusively focused on the township market and successfully working with a rapidly growing network of Spaza shops, prepared food outlets, and other township businesses, offering investors, suppliers, and partners a unique opportunity to tap into the multi-billion South African township market.
Jessica Boonstra is the Founder and CEO of Yebo Fresh.
She previously worked at Alchemize Consulting as a Co-Founder.
Jessica is also a passionate leader, entrepreneur, and adviser with a strong track record in boardroom-level strategy, business development, online retail, and innovation.
Jessica Boonstra attended the Delft University of Technology.
Investors & Funding Rounds
E4E and, Enza Capital and angel investors
Yebo Fresh, which delivers food and household goods to communities and organizations, has raised a Series A funding round as it prepares to expand nationwide.
Yebo Fresh’s funding comes from E4E, Mark Forrester, Dale Williams, and the founders of cars.co.za. The E4E partners were also investors in the startup’s seed round.
The funding will be used to further build the Yebo Fresh brand, hire several “superstars”, optimize its systems and processes, and prepare for national expansion.
Yebo Fresh has also announced that it has succeeded in securing an R78 million (~$4.5 million) pre-Series A equity investment and a Jobs Fund grant.
The new capital injection will allow Yebo Fresh to expand further, significantly build on its physical and systems infrastructure and attract new talent.
The pre-series A investment was led by Enza Capital with participation from Swiss Impact investors Elea Foundation, and Harvest, the local investment fund of the prestigious international Endeavor entrepreneurs.
Additional re-investments have also been secured from current investors including E4EAFrica, Yebo Fresh’s largest investor. Private investment vehicle simple. The capital was the lead advisor on the deal.
Throughout 2021 and 2022, Yebo Fresh successfully secured two rounds of bridge funding from current and new investors, including AckerX, the investment vehicle of leading fast-fashion retailer Ackermans.
These rounds are now converting during the current round of investment.
The new capital will allow Yebo Fresh to expand further, significantly build on its physical and systems infrastructure and attract new talent.
The Jobs Fund grant specifically will be used to provide technology, coaching, and physical resources to thousands of South African-owned businesses in townships to help them grow and remain competitive.
This includes investing in digital infrastructure, providing a range of resources, and free training to small business owners to improve their operations, decrease their costs and increase their sales.
Yebo Fresh’s mission is to empower township entrepreneurs through technology and employment creation.
The newly secured funding will help the company achieve this and allow it to help small businesses not merely survive but thrive in the significant township marketplace worth more than R160 billion.
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