South African online grocery startup Yebo Fresh secures early stage funding

South African startup Yebo Fresh, which delivers grocery products into black townships, has closed a second round of funding. The company, which was founded in September 2018, will use the funding to improve its technology platform and accelerate growth.

Funding has been led by early-stage investor E4EAfrica.com, a young, Cape Town-based VC firm.

Yebo Fresh is designed to bridge a gap left by traditional grocery retailers in townships. it uses an agent model to deliver groceries directly to customers’ homes or to community centres such as churches or schools.

A key challenge is that while most customers use smartphones, they are unfamiliar with and wary of buying online. Yebo Fresh offers a paper order form – scanned in by its agents – and the option of ordering via Whatsapp.

Yebo Fresh currently serves the townships of Imizamo Yethu, Langa, Khayelitsha, Mfuleni and Gugulethu and is looking to expand across the greater Cape Town area. It offers products fresh, frozen and dried grocery products, as well as personal care and household cleaning products. It currently stocks some blue chip brands such as Colgate and Nesquik as well as mostly cheaper, more affordable brands.

Within its buying options it offers combos (preselected groups of popular products aimed at customers doing a weekly shop on a budget) and bulk buys (wholesale/trade size product formats, such as 25kg packs of maize meal), aimed at customers with large families, small traders and customers looking to divide and share with others to save money.