Startup of the Week: Chari - Morocco’s Mom-and-Pop Stores’ Superhero

Published October 11th, 2021 - 08:22 GMT
Startup of the Week: Chari - Morocco’s Mom-and-Pop Stores’ Superhero
Chari’s latest achievement is being among the 8 finalists for the 2021 VC4Africa Showcase Serie A track. (Twitter)

We all have this urge to help others in life in any way we can. Thus, each one of us wears their invisible cape and try to help others in the field they excel in. Sophia Alj and her husband Ismael Belkhayat seem to have special superpowers that help Morocco’s mom-and-pop shops grow and thrive. Their superpowers come in the form of an app called: Chari.

About Chari

Alj and Belkhayat noticed a gap in Morocco’s logistics and distribution landscape, specifically when it comes to the mom-and-pops stores’ segment. And believing that necessity is the mother of all inventions, they decided to find a solution for it. So in January 2020, right before the pandemic invaded our lives, they founded the B2B e-commerce platform, Chari.

Chari founders
Sophia Alj and Ismael Belkhayat. Source: Twitter

Chari was founded to be the link between the local stores’ owners and wholesalers in the FMCG sector. Chari’s mobile application (available on Google Play and the App Store) allows local shops – which account for 80% of Morocco’s distribution – to order everything they need, at competitive prices and with the promise of free delivery in less than 24 hours.

The thriving startup started its operations with one warehouse in Casablanca, Morocco. Today it covers not only Moroccan cities, but Tunisian’s as well. By doing so, the startup would be starting to transform its vision into reality; digitizing the mom-and-pop stores in the French Speaking African countries.

Chari’s Funding and Achievements

In December 2020, Chari won the Middle East Africa Seed Challenge (worth €200K) organised by Orange Ventures. 

The summer of 2021 was an eventful period for Chari. What started as a B2B e-commerce platform, became a financial services provider for the retailers offering them microloans! This was achieved in August 2021 when Chari acquired the fintech app,, to facilitate mobile payment transactions to its customers.

Since Chari’s motto seems to be “Can’t stop, won’t stop”, just right after the flourishing startup completed the Summer‘21 batch of Y Combinator, it successfully raised $5M at a valuation of $70million in its latest funding round in Oct 2021. This Seed round was co-led by Rocket Internet, Global Founders Capital, and P1 ventures and recorded participation from new and existing investors including Plug and Play, Y combinator, Village Capital / MetLife Foundation, Orange Ventures, Air Angels - Airbnb investors, SPE Capital, Pincus Private Equity, Reflect Ventures, The Chandaria family, Michael Lahyani, CEO and founder of Propertyfinder, and the management company of an American Ivy League University. 

"We are happy to lead the way of the nascent Moroccan startup ecosystem. We hope that this seed round will be one the first of a long series of noticeable seed funding in Moroccan Startups" Sophia Alj, Cofounder and COO of Chari.

Chari’s latest achievement is being among the 8 finalists for the 2021 VC4Africa Showcase Serie A track.

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