MarketForce: Building an Operating System for Merchants in Africa

By Stephen Ciesinski, Lucy Montgomery
2022 | Case No. E809 | Length 21 pgs.

Tesh Mbaabu started MarketForce to help bring technology to the thousands of Kenyan merchants who ran corner shops that were often a centerpiece of their communities. MarketForce began as an inventory ordering platform for merchants, but has quickly evolved into a comprehensive operating system that merchants can use to unlock new revenue streams and grow their businesses. The team has expanded from Kenya into four new African countries and hopes to be in 15 countries by 2025.

In this case, Mbaabu and the MarketForce team are faced with a number of critical decisions: how to build a product expansion strategy through geographic expansion and mergers and acquisitions, and how to scale the company’s culture across new markets and countries.

Learning Objective

The learning objectives of this case are:

  • Scaling a business across the African continent
  • Understanding how to build a team in a high-growth startup
  • Mergers and acquisition strategy
  • Assessing new market opportunities
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