Moroccan Chari acquires Ivorian B2B e-commerce startup Diago
Chari, a Moroccan B2B e-commerce and fintech startup, announced today that it has acquired a 100% stake in Diago, an Ivorian application that connects local businesses with FMCG producers and importers.
The all-stock transaction was facilitated by firms AF Legal and RBB International, representing Chari, and Houda Law Firm, representing the Ivorian upstart.
This acquisition comes just 3 months after Chari acquired Axa Credit, the credit arm of Axa Assurance Maroc, for $22 million. With Karny, an accounting application acquired last year in August, Chari has now completed and announced 3 successful acquisitions in 10 months.
“The secret to successful expansion is building a local team that understands local market dynamics,” said Chari’s CEO. Ismail Belkhayat who co-founded the startup with his wife Sophia Alj (COO) in 2020. “The real challenge is to convince local entrepreneurs to partner with Chari to grow faster.”
Last year, in an interview, Belkhayat told TechCabal that the goal was to be the market leader in Francophone Africa. Today, he is making his first major foray and is committed to “continuing to surround himself with ambitious young entrepreneurs from French-speaking Africa to build together a pan-African giant in the distribution of consumer products and financial services”.
Founded in 2021 by Ali Ouattara and Amidou Diarra, two former executives of Glovo and PepsiCo, diagoapp.net operates exclusively in Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast and one of the largest French-speaking cities in Africa.
Chari said in a statement that Ouattara and Diarra, who initially sought funding and market and technology advice before choosing to leave Morocco, will remain CEO and COO respectively. The duo will oversee the growth of local businesses before expanding their footprint to other sub-Saharan countries, Chari’s overarching goal.
“The entire Diago team will benefit from all of Chari’s support features,” said Chari’s vice president of international expansion. “Chari’s back office in Casablanca will help the Diago team in setting up operations, IT tools and customer service.”
There is a new trend for African startups to engage in local and international mergers and acquisitions (M&A), especially cross-regional deals. Last month, a Nigerian automotive technology startup, Autocheck, traveled north to acquire Morocco’s KIFAL Auto. Now Chari is acquiring a West African startup.
Belkhayat said the company is currently raising a major Series A. While the 2-year-old startup, with approximately $7 million in funding, has already completed 3 acquisitions and is operational in 3 countries – Morocco, Tunisia and now the Ivory Coast—who knows what he would do with the “big A series” when it finally ended?