YC-backed Firm Abandons B2B eCommerce for AI Venture in Kenya and South Africa

YC-backed Firm Abandons B2B eCommerce for AI Venture in Kenya and South Africa. Kenyan born sales force automation software startup, MarketForce that was founded back in 2018 has reportedly announced the shutdown of its B2B eCommerce platform, RejaReja and then the launch of a social commerce platform, Chpter, its new venture.

YC-backed Firm Abandons B2B eCommerce for AI Venture

YC-backed Firm Abandons B2B eCommerce for AI Venture

MarketForce, a startup backed by Y Combinator, recently made headlines with its decision to shift focus from B2B eCommerce to a new venture in AI-powered conversational commerce.

The move comes as MarketForce faced challenges in sustaining its eCommerce platform, RejaReja, due to industry dynamics and fundamental flaws in its business model. In this article, we delve into MarketForce’s journey, the reasons behind its transition, and its outlook with the new AI venture, Chpter.

The Rise and Fall of RejaReja

Founded in 2018 by Tesh Mbaabu and Mesongo Sibuti, MarketForce initially gained traction with its eCommerce platform, RejaReja. The platform aimed to empower merchants in Africa, particularly in Kenya and South Africa, by facilitating sales through social media channels like WhatsApp and Instagram.

Despite early success, RejaReja encountered challenges such as razor-thin margins in the FMCG market and persistently high price elasticity, leading to unsustainable operations.

Transition to Chpter

In response to RejaReja’s closure, MarketForce announced its pivot to Chpter, an AI-powered conversational commerce platform. Chpter aims to enable merchants to boost sales on social platforms through automated conversations, marketing, and payments.

Mbaabu expressed confidence in Chpter, leveraging insights from MarketForce’s previous ventures to ensure profitability and sustainability in its latest endeavor.

Lessons Learned and Future Prospects

MarketForce’s journey highlights the inherent risks and challenges in the startup ecosystem, even for well-funded ventures. Despite setbacks, MarketForce remains optimistic about its prospects with Chpter, leveraging its experience and lessons learned to drive success in the AI commerce space.

As the company embarks on this new chapter, it aims to redefine the future of commerce in Africa while addressing the evolving needs of merchants and consumers alike.


MarketForce’s transition from B2B eCommerce to AI-driven conversational commerce reflects the dynamic nature of the startup landscape. While RejaReja faced challenges that led to its closure, MarketForce remains resilient in pursuing new opportunities with Chpter.

With a renewed focus and innovative approach, MarketForce seeks to make a lasting impact in the African market and beyond, underscoring the importance of adaptability and perseverance in the face of adversity.



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