Cape Town-based start-up Yebo Fresh scores Series A funding
Cape Town-based online retailer Yebo Fresh has secured Series A funding as it readies for countrywide expansion.
The start-up says it has experienced stellar growth in recent months as a result of the COVID-19-induced lockdown, due to increased demand for the delivery of food and groceries.
Yebo Fresh has since moved to a bigger 1 200sqm warehouse, expanded its team to 35, and has now received additional investment to help it execute its national expansion plan.
Founder and CEO Jessica Boonstra says the funding will be used to further build the brand, and hire several ‘superstars’ − like recently appointed commercial director Pamela Solomon, CFO Dean Taylor and COO Mike Jones − to optimise their systems and processes, and prepare for national expansion.
The latest funding for the company is from venture capital fund E4E, Mark Forrester, Dale Williams and the founders of cars.co.za.
E4E managing partner Philani Sangweni says: “Yebo Fresh aligns perfectly with our stated mission of growing start-ups that aren’t just good businesses but are also transformative and create jobs. We’re extremely proud to be playing a leading part in their growth journey.”
As one of the first investors to back Yebo Fresh, entrepreneur Mark Forrester says he was inspired by the determination shown by the team when faced with the pandemic. “I backed Yebo Fresh in their first round of investment, before the pandemic hit. To see the team mobilise during lockdown to help feed vulnerable families – levelling up their systems and logistical infrastructure and showcasing an anti-fragile determination – was truly inspiring.
“I believe now more than ever that Yebo Fresh can find commercial success, whilst having a meaningful social impact. For that reason, I've joined the second round and I am committed to help support them in their quest."
Yebo Fresh previously received funding from professor Stefan Allesch Taylor, and their second seed investment in September 2019 came from Bas Hochstenbach, Forrester, Neil Watson and SweepSouth founders Aisha Pandor and Alen Ribic.
Founded in 2018, Yebo Fresh says it was inspired by the need for transformation in the world of online shopping, as well as making quality, fresh food and household goods accessible.
After first starting out delivering groceries to residents of Imizamo Yethu township, the firm now delivers to all Cape Town suburbs within a 40km radius.
“I realised a few years ago that the townships are the heartbeat of South Africa. The Ikasi economy offers a big opportunity for growth in human potential and capital,” comments new investor, Dale Williams, a business coach.
“Having been introduced to Yebo Fresh through Mark Forrester, I was immediately intrigued by what is possible through providing quality, fresh food and household goods to people who are not normally well served by traditional retailers.”
Along with the recent investments into the business, Yebo Fresh has undergone a company-wide branding refresh with an extended offering and an updated Web site, digital assets and logo.
“We are very excited about the growth and the many learnings we have experienced as a company, especially in a year when there was such little hope due to the pandemic. Through the amazing partnerships we have formed this year, we are now able to implement further technology to serve our communities even better,” says Boonstra.