Rwazi is to scale its market intelligence platform backed by $4 million seed funding

by Ana Lopez

In emerging markets such as Africa, offline retail dominates most product sales, driven by informal trade and cash transactions. This makes collecting data on the true market value or size of products a daunting task. However, local and international brands need data, such as market size and value, consumer profiles and their purchasing power, and penetration of their competitors’ products, to establish or expand their presence in such markets.

To prevent brands blindly entering emerging markets, Rwazi, a market intelligence start-up aims to bridge this gap by providing these market insights backed by data collected directly from consumers. Rwazi co-founder and CEO Joseph Rutakangwa told that unlike larger research firms, which draw conclusions based on sample information, the startup is looking for unit-level data, such as the product sizes purchased, the frequency of purchases and the geographic location of consumers.

Launched in 2021, the startup is now scaling up in emerging markets, including Africa, where it already claims a presence in 40 countries. Rutakangwa also says they are available in other markets such as South Asia and Latin America.

The expansion plans and planned new product launches are supported by a $4 million seed funding round led by Bonfire Ventures, with participation from Newfund Capital, and Alumni Ventures.

“We are introducing new products this year that support different languages ​​as it has been a barrier to our growth in these regions,” said Rutakangwa, who co-founded the startup with Eric Sewankambo.

The startup says multilingual support will help them scale in their existing markets while broadening their consumer data demographics.

Consumers use a web or mobile app to log their purchases and receive compensation for verified entries on Rwazi’s platform.

The startup decided to source data directly from consumers after several ineffective iterations, including using agents and sales teams.

“By using Rwazi, multinationals can access data on who buys what, for how much, where, when and why, to help them generate revenue and expand. And because brands get data from the horse’s mouth and can see how consumers make purchasing decisions, they can do hyper-local messaging, pricing and packaging,” said Rutakangwa.

The data collected by Rwazi includes product usage, frequency of consumption, and household budgets and income. The data is based on the needs of the subscribers using the SaaS product.

Rutakangwa says they launched Rwazi based on the need for up-to-date data, forced by frustrations they encountered trying to get timely market insights in their previous jobs. He says the most available data, often from government agencies, is out of date or focuses on general trends, and lacks the granular data needed for accurate action. The former students of the African Leadership University (Mauritius) then set to work to fill this gap.

Rwazi, which joined the Techstars Los Angeles accelerator program last year, currently has a network of 50,000 consumers and 18 multinational companies tracking more than 200 different products, across industries including fast-moving consumer goods, healthcare, telecommunications and financial services.

Some brands use the platform to determine locations for expansion or investment in their competitiveness.

“Others are looking for new markets that are growing and have good demographics, regions where they can locate to capture future sales,” he said.

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