Moroccan retail-tech startup Chari expands to Ivory Coast with Diago acquisition

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Moroccan retail-tech startup Chari has begun its expansion into Sub-Saharan Africa with the acquisition of the Ivory-Coast based app Diago.

Founded in 2020 by husband and wife team Ismael and Sophia Belkhayat, Chari allows traditional proximity store owners in Morocco to order products and have them delivered. It works with more than 50 per cent of the proximity stores in Casablanca, has expanded into Tunisia, and in August announced the acquisition of mobile credit book application Karny.

A participant in the Y Combinator S21 batch, the company raised a US$5 million seed round late last year, and secured further investment in January. It is now furthering its expansion, moving into Ivory Coast with the 100 per cent acquisition of Diago, an app that connects neighbourhood shops to FMCG producers and importers.

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Founded in 2021 by Amidou Diarra and Ali Ouattara, two former managers at Glovo and PepsiCo, Diago operates exclusively in Abidjan. Diarra and Outtara will remain CEO and COO, respectively, and oversee local business growth before expanding the app’s footprint to other Sub-Saharan African countries.

“Diago’s entire team will receive Chari’s full support functions. Chari’s Casablanca back office will help the Diago team in setting up operations, IT tools and customer service,” said Cyrille Jacques, vice president of Chari in charge of leading international expansion. 

After a successful proof of concept in Morocco, Chari aims to become a leader in its space across the whole of Francophone Africa. 

“The secret of a successful expansion is to build a local team that masters local market dynamics. The real challenge is to convince local entrepreneurs to join forces with Chari to grow faster. We continue to surround ourselves with young and ambitious entrepreneurs from Francophone Africa to build together a pan-African giant of FMCG and financial services distribution,” said Ismael Belkhayat, co-founder and CEO of Chari.