12 Southern African Startup Companies Redefining Ecommerce to Watch

E-commerce is booming in South Africa. Online sales have been booming in the region, and the trend is only expected to continue. This growth is driven by several factors, including the increasing availability of high-speed internet and increased awareness of the perks and convenience of online shopping.

Along with this growth, a number of innovative South African startups are emerging that are redefining e-commerce and online retail. These startups are using technology to solve real-world problems for consumers and businesses, and they are well-positioned to capture a share of the growing market.

Here we’ve identified 12 of the most promising e-commerce startups in Southern Africa. We explore the unique value proposition of each startup and its impact on the e-commerce landscape in Southern Africa.


Year Founded: 2020

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Qwili is a revolutionary technology company creating solutions to empower micro-merchants within the informal sector. The startup provides transformative tools to enable small-scale entrepreneurs and newcomers to take advantage of digital technology for their businesses.

Qwili operates a digital marketplace and sales portal designed to cater to the specific needs and challenges faced by micro-merchants. The platform simplifies the process of creating, listing, and selling digital offerings for users. Qwili’s marketplace lets entrepreneurs make their products available to a vast network of potential customers, expanding their business prospects.

Qwili provides a transformative avenue for entrepreneurs to sell their products and services digitally, breaking down barriers and enabling them to reach a wider audience. Qwili’s dedication to the informal sector also fills a crucial gap in the market, fostering economic growth and social development for those who have been mostly underserved.


Year Founded: 2020

Location: Windhoek, Namibia

Jabu is a dynamic digital technology company that facilitates B2B transactions and optimizes last-mile services for FMCG (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods) brands. The company deploys innovative solutions to bridge the gap between brands, manufacturers, and distributors.

Jabu operates a B2B marketplace with cutting-edge digital technology, enabling brands to connect effortlessly with retailers and wholesalers. The platform is a one-stop solution for brands seeking to expand their market presence.

Additionally, Jabu’s last-mile distribution services offer a game-changing advantage for FMCG brands. Through a well-organized and efficient distribution network, the company ensures that products reach retailers and end consumers promptly and reliably.

Jabu is significantly impacting the retail landscape with its innovative B2B marketplace and efficient distribution services. The company presents a unique solution that streamlines supply chains, fosters business growth, and propels economic development in Southern Africa.


Year Founded: 2021

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

Lemon Africa is a forward-thinking technology company revolutionizing inventory sourcing for businesses trading in industrial supplies. The startup creates solutions that simplify procurement processes for enterprises in Africa.

Lemon operates a cutting-edge B2B marketplace designed to cater to industrial businesses. The platform functions as a digital hub where suppliers showcase their products, and buyers can browse, compare offerings and make purchases effortlessly.

Lemon Africa’s solution enables businesses to access various products while fostering healthy competition among suppliers. By streamlining procurement processes and facilitating seamless transactions, Lemon Africa revolutionizes how industrial enterprises source their supplies, unlocking new opportunities for growth and operational efficiency.


Year Founded: 2017

Location: Gauteng, South Africa

Rentoza is a leading online retailer creating easy access to technology devices and everyday home items for consumers. The startup seeks to democratize ownership of electronic devices and make everyday things readily available to consumers.

At the core of Rentoza’s business model is its subscription-based approach, an innovative solution that enables consumers to access products and pay conveniently. Rentoza enables individuals and families to enjoy the benefits of premium products without the burden of high upfront costs through affordable and flexible monthly subscriptions.

Rentoza’s mission is rooted in the belief that access to electronic devices and essential everyday items should be within reach of all consumers. By removing the financial barriers to ownership, Rentoza empowers a wider demographic of consumers to enjoy the benefits of cutting-edge technology and essential household items.


Year Founded: 2017

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Yaga is an innovative retail facilitator enabling entrepreneurship in consumers and retailers alike. The company facilitates the sales of pre-owned fashion products, helping individuals to dispose of items they no longer want and get returns for them.

Yaga operates an online marketplace where users can buy and sell pre-owned fashion items. Unlike traditional fashion retailers, Yaga’s platform curates a diverse and extensive catalog that includes apparel, bags, jewelry, and more, catering to various tastes and styles.

What sets Yaga apart is its emphasis on sustainability and circular fashion. The startup encourages consumers to embrace second-hand shopping to reduce waste and contribute to a more eco-friendly fashion industry.


Year Founded: 2016

Location: Gauteng, South Agrica

Khula is a progressive digital commerce enabler revolutionizing agricultural markets in South Africa. The company creates solutions that connect small-scale farmers directly with formal markets and ensure they get fair valuations for their produce.

Khula operates a digital infrastructure that functions as a virtual marketplace for farmers to list and sell their produce. Farmers can access a vast network of potential buyers through the platform, including retailers, restaurants, and wholesalers.

Unlike traditional agricultural supply chains that often leave farmers with meager profits, Khula empowers farmers by providing them with a transparent and efficient marketplace to sell their fresh produce. As such, Khula helps to enhance the livelihoods of small-scale farmers while also contributing to food security and economic growth in the communities they serve.


Year Founded: 2021

Location: Capetown, South Africa

Maholla is an innovative technology company revolutionizing ecommerce and digital retail shopping experiences for millions of buyers in Africa’s emerging markets. The company incentivizes consumers to purchase items from online retailers by rewarding them.

Maholla operates an innovative consumer rewards platform. Consumers can easily access and participate in the rewards program through a user-friendly mobile application. Shoppers simply need to scan their receipts or make purchases through the app, earning points for every transaction.    

Unlike traditional loyalty programs tied to specific brands or retailers, Maholla breaks free from these constraints, offering rewards to shoppers for any purchase made from a variety of supported stores. This agnostic approach means that consumers can earn valuable rewards for shopping online. As such, the company promotes ecommerce growth and adoption for consumers across Africa.


Year Founded: 2014

Location: Capetown, South Africa

eComplete is an innovative technology company redefining online retailing and shopping in Africa. The startup takes a holistic approach to providing comprehensive ecommerce solutions to businesses of all sizes.

eComplete operates a robust digital infrastructure that enables it to develop ecommerce tools and a suite of support services for businesses. Amongst its services, the company offers businesses fully customizable and user-friendly ecommerce platforms, enabling them to easily create and manage their online stores. Its ecommerce platforms come with a range of features, including secure payment gateways, inventory management, and analytics tools, 

In addition to that, the company offers digital marketing, UX design, and data analytics. All of these services are geared towards ecommerce success for clients.

Unlike traditional e-commerce platforms that often require businesses to use multiple service providers for various aspects of their online operations, eComplete streamlines the process by offering a one-stop shop for all e-commerce needs. This all-encompassing approach not only saves businesses time and effort but also ensures a seamless and integrated online presence, empowering them to focus on growth and success in the digital marketplace.


Year Founded: 2018

Location: Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal

Agrikool is a progressive ecommerce company redefining agricultural commerce in Africa. The company connects agricultural producers directly with buyers in South Africa through its digital solutions. 

Agrikool operates a cutting-edge ecommerce platform, which functions as a virtual marketplace specifically for agricultural products. Farmers get to list their produce on the platform, complete with details on quality, quantity, and pricing. At the same time, buyers can browse a diverse range of agricultural goods and make informed purchasing decisions.

AgriKool’s impact on the agricultural value chain in Africa is profound and far-reaching. By connecting farmers directly with buyers, the company empowers agricultural producers, mainly small-scale farmers, with increased market access and fair prices for their produce. This, in turn, leads to improved livelihoods for farmers, enhanced productivity, and economic growth in rural areas.


Year Founded: 2021

Rwazi is a revolutionary digital technology company redefining ecommerce and online retail with its market intelligence solutions. The startup provides businesses with actionable consumer behavior insights, helping them make informed decisions and serve their customers better.

Rwazi operates an advanced market intelligence and data analytics platform where online retailers and ecommerce businesses can access in-depth data insights and detailed information about consumers’ behavior. Rwazi gives retail operators access to complete details, including who is buying specific products, at what prices, from which locations, and the reasons behind their purchasing decisions.

Rwazi empowers businesses to make informed decisions, drive revenue growth, and expand their market presence. It supplies its clients with accurate and comprehensive real-time data and insights into consumer behavior, thus helping them improve their efficiency.


Year Founded: 2018

Location: Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal

HelloChoice is an innovative technology startup redefining agricultural ecommerce in Africa. The company provides channels to connects farmers and buyers in the agricultural sector without involving intermediaries.

Hellochoice’s core product is digital trading and auction platform where farmers can list their fresh produce on the platform, complete with details on quantity, quality, and pricing, while buyers can browse through a wide range of agricultural goods and make direct purchases.

HelloChoice is transforming the agricultural value chain by leveraging digital technology to directly connect farmers and buyers. Through its innovative solutions, HelloChoice fosters sustainable agricultural practices, contributes to economic development in rural communities, and supports food security efforts.


Year Founded: 2021

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

Bi-Me is a pioneering insurance company redefining insurance experiences for small businesses. The startup provides tailored insurance options for small businesses, including ecommerce and online retail enterprises.

Bi-Me operates a digital infrastructure that streamlines the process of comparing and purchasing business insurance. The platform provides a seamless and hassle-free experience for small business owners. By simplifying the decision-making process, Bi-Me empowers business owners to make informed choices about their insurance coverage, ensuring they get the protection they need without unnecessary complexities or hidden costs.

Bi-Me’s platform offers small businesses a simple way to access insurance coverage that meets their specific needs. By empowering small business owners with transparent pricing and the right coverage options, Bi-Me aims to alleviate the burdens associated with insurance procurement, allowing entrepreneurs to focus on confidently growing their businesses.

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