Mastercard backs female-focused e-commerce platform Kasha of Rwanda

RWANDA – American multinational financial services corporation Mastercard, has announced a new investment in Rwandan female-focused e-commerce platform Kasha.

The two institutions say they will continue their shared efforts to ensure women across emerging markets have essential access to health and personal care products along with the information required to support everyday hygiene needs.

Launched in 2018 in Rwanda, Kasha is a platform that allows women across rural and urban locations to make confidential personal care orders.

The platform later launched in Kenya in 2019.

By utilizing the full product catalogue available online, or by placing orders using basic mobile handsets, women can search, order and pay for hygiene products that are discretely delivered to them by local micro-entrepreneurs, thus also helping local store owners grow their business.

Mastercard’s investment is the next step on a journey the organizations have been on since Kasha joined Mastercard StartPath in 2019.

“In MasterCard we not only have a committed investor with shared values, but also an innovative partner as we continue to take Kasha’s development and growth to the next level

Joanna Bichsel

Since joining the award-winning start-up engagement program, Mastercard has worked with Kasha to integrate digital payment acceptance across its e-commerce platform, and most recently the partners joined forces to deliver virus, hygiene, and protection products to families across Kenya in efforts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Kasha’s goal is to ensure women in emerging markets get the products, information, and services they need for their health, self-care, and well-being,” said, Joanna Bichsel, Kasha’s Founder and CEO.

“I am thrilled that we are continuing our collaboration with Mastercard and that we not only have a committed investor with shared values, but also an innovative partner as we continue to take Kasha’s development and growth to the next level,” she added.

Mastercard’s activities with Kasha directly support the company’s pledge to bring 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025, with a direct focus on providing 25 million women entrepreneurs with solutions to help them grow their business.

Launched in July 2016, Kasha sells menstrual care products, contraceptives, pharmaceuticals and a range of beauty products, and delivers to customers confidentially.

The start-up allows customers to place orders for products via its website, a mobile app, SMS short code or phone call.

It does not require a smartphone or internet connection and is focused on female empowerment and self-care.

In September 2020, The United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) approved US$6 million in equity investments in Africa-based e-commerce companies Copia Global and Kasha.

The investments in Kenya’s Copia, totalled US$5 million and Rwanda’s Kasha a US$1 million investment.

In February 2019, VestedWorld, an early-stage investor in businesses based in emerging markets, invested an undisclosed amount in Kasha to enable the firm to scale its operations in the Sub-Saharan region especially in the East and West African countries.

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