Artha India Ventures Expands Its Presence to Africa; Invests in Kenya-based Re-Commerce Startup Badili

  • Eyes investing in 8-10 African startups by 2023
  • This is Artha India Ventures (AIV)'s 11th international investment that covers Israel, the USA and now Africa
  • Rajesh Sawhney, Ritesh Malik, SOSV, Uncovered Fund and Grenfell Holdings also participated in the round
Artha India Ventures (AIV), the well-established family office of Ashok Kumar Damani, today announced a pre-seed investment in Badili, Africa's first online buy-back platform for smartphones, based in Kenya. This marks AIV's 1st investment in Africa and brings its international investments to 11 across Israel, the USA and now Africa, and the overall total (national and international) investments to 75.

AIV aims to spread its investment portfolio across 7-8 countries across the African continent and will invest in 25 more startups by 2024, with a cumulative fund allocation of over $20 million in Africa through direct, GP, LP and syndicated investments. AIV will invest in seed to series A rounds across fintech & lending, media infrastructure and consumer-tech sectors, depending on the proposition at hand.

Badili has raised the first tranche of $850,000 from the total target of a $3.35 million pre-seed round. Notable angels and institutional investors such as Rajesh Sawhney, Ritesh Malik, SOSV, Uncovered Fund and Grenfell Holdings participated in the tranche. 

Badili will utilise the funds for acquiring inventory, tech enhancement, and establishing its offline presence through brick-and-mortar stores across 7 cities in the East African country, Kenya. The consumer to business (C2B) startup is the first in Africa that purchases and sells used smartphones directly from/to the consumers and is supported by strategic partnerships in China, South Korea and India.

As a 1st of its kind, Badili has a serviceable market of 130 million+ second-hand smartphone users in Africa. In the absence of established e-commerce players like Amazon in Africa, Badili has introduced standardisation processes in an otherwise unorganised segment - usually dominated by local players. Coupled with a 119% mobile penetration in 2020 implying a ~10% YoY growth, the startup is eyeing a user base of 60 million by 2023 and is set to expand its services across 7 African countries, including Nigeria, which is the biggest smartphone market in the region.

Anirudh Damani, Managing Partner, Artha Venture Fund
Anirudh Damani, Managing Partner, Artha Venture Fund

Anirudh A Damani, Director, Artha India Ventures, said, "We are thrilled with our first investment in Africa as it is among the frontrunners of emerging markets after India. We have received a tremendous response from the African startup ecosystem and look forward to investing in 4 to 5 Africa-focused startups every year. Moreover, we are not limited to seed rounds and have expanded our investment strategy to include pre-series A and series A rounds for this important continent.

Badili had to be our maiden investment in the country as we resonate with Rishabh's pragmatic vision and frugal innovation. He is a seasoned entrepreneur with a solid track record from his previous startups. As the 1st player to purchase, refurbish and sell smartphones in Kenya, Badili has a clear first-mover advantage in the region. We are elated to have them on board."

Rishabh Lawania, Founder & CEO, Badili, commented, "With over 20% of smartphone users in Kenya opting for second-hand smartphone devices, we have identified a clear demand in the segment. So much so that we have partnered with various suppliers across countries, leading with India, that can enable us to meet the initial demand.

We have also established Badili as the leading choice for OEM players, and brands like Samsung and Apple have made us their official buy-back partners in Africa.

We wanted to partner with an investor that shared our vision, understood the re-commerce market, and who would help us grow. With AIV's investment legacy across continents, they were bound to be our preferred choice."

On the ecological front, as India is one of the highest e-waste generating nations in the world, of which 12% can be attributed to smartphones, the Badili team are doing their bit to offset the concerns. Hence, with India's strategic supply chain alliance, Badili aims to limit the adverse impact of used phones currently making their way to landfills. Riding strong on the first-mover advantage and on account of such alliances, Badili aims to transact 100 million phones annually by 2026.

About Badili

Based in Kenya, Badili is a re-commerce startup for old mobile phones. It operates through its website, mobile app, and a network of over 210 dealers. The company buys phones from a user, refurbishes, and sells them to the consumers looking for a cheaper alternative to a new phone with equivalent features. The company also plans to provide repair services and expand rapidly throughout Africa by expanding its dealer network and launching its own brick and mortar stores. Badili has a strategic supply chain alliance with India and its growth will only power the circular economy and lead to sustainable growth.

About Artha India Ventures

Artha India Ventures (AIV) is the alternative investment arm of Ashok Kumar Damani's family office. Founded in 2012, with 3.1x DPI, 7.3x MOIC and 21 exits, AIV currently has an impressive portfolio of over 75 companies spread across India, the USA, Israel and Africa. Helmed by Ashok Kumar Damani, a serial entrepreneur and a seasoned stockbroker, AIV generates liquidity through its operating assets, such as high-yielding renewable energy projects and GP investments in institutional funds. The generated cash is then invested in startup opportunities across the globe.

AIV has a sector-agnostic investment outlook and has a stake in segments such as edtech, content platforms, e-commerce, auto and healthtech amongst others. OYO Rooms, Tala, Baby Chakra, Rapido and Coutloot are some of the many names that have been part of AIV's portfolio. The whopping 150x and 165x returns from OYO Rooms and Exotel, respectively, and the potential 102x from Purplle, are testament to the team's ability to pick business winners. AIV is maintaining its growth trajectory and is set to make 100 investments by 2023.


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