Home » Led by Sophia Alj, Ismael Belkhaya, Chari secures $1 million from Orange Ventures

Led by Sophia Alj, Ismael Belkhaya, Chari secures $1 million from Orange Ventures

by Mfonobong Nsehe
Sophia Alj and Ismael Belkhaya

Chari, a Moroccan e-commerce and fintech startup led by Sophia Alj and Ismael Belkhaya, has received a $1-million investment from Orange Ventures, the venture capital arm of Orange, in its latest round of fundraising.

With Orange Ventures’ support, Chari is positioned to become a prominent fintech provider, delivering innovative solutions to both businesses and consumers.

The investment will allow the rapidly growing e-commerce company, which has already enrolled more thn 20,000 food businesses in Morocco, to broaden its presence and establish its operations both domestically and internationally.

With Orange Ventures’ investment of $1 million, Gregoire de Padirac, partner of Orange Ventures Middle East and Africa, will now be part of the esteemed Supervisory Board of Chari.

De Padirac expressed his excitement about this venture, stating: “We are delighted to have been among the first investors in the Chari adventure.”

“We look forward to continuing to support the team as it expands into the French-speaking region and the fintech sector. We believe in the need to digitize local company owners,” he added.

Chari Co-Founder and CEO Ismael Belkhayat expressed his immense pride in the investment and support received from Orange Ventures. He believes that the partnership will greatly enhance Chari’s operations through the Orange Group’s invaluable distribution expertise and skills.

Established with the vision to revolutionize the supply chain for small businesses, Chari has made remarkable strides since its inception in 2020.

Co-founded by Belkhayat and Alj, Chari has become a leading B2B e-commerce and fintech player, garnering significant recognition in the industry.

Since its inception, the startup has attracted over 20,000 food businesses in Morocco’s major cities while maintaining an active partnership with FMCG companies and local manufacturers to deliver goods to mom-and-pop shops in under 24 hours.

In 2021, the startup emerged as the winner of the 2021 Middle East Africa Seed Challenge, hosted by Orange Ventures.

The competition saw more than 500 tech entrepreneurs from seven countries, including Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, Cameroon, the Ivory Coast, and Jordan, showcase their ideas.

In January 2022, Chari secured a $100-million valuation in a bridge round by Saudi-based venture capital fund Khwarizmi Ventures, AirAngels (Airbnb Alumni Investors), and Afri Mobility, the VC arm of AKWA Group, a leading conglomerate led by Moroccan multimillionaire Aziz Akhannouch.

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