MarketForce exits three markets, set to launch a social commerce spinout

Anton Ioffe - October 29th 2023 - 5 minutes read

In an unexpected turn of events, MarketForce, a renowned name in the business landscape, has exited three markets. Not just that, the company is also gearing up for an exciting new venture into the realm of social commerce. This article promises to take you on an intriguing journey of MarketForce’s strategic market exit, revealing the motivation and substantial changes behind the bold move. We will also delve into the world of social commerce, and give you an extensive look at how MarketForce plans to conquer this trending field. This is not just an account of a company's transformation, it's a front row seat to a revolutionary business pivot. Buckle up for a riveting exploration of strategy, innovation, and evolution.

Comprehensive Insight into MarketForce's Market Exit

In evaluating the fundamentals behind MarketForce's decision to shut down operations in three of its five African markets, it's essential to consider the unfavorable investment dynamics in the venture capital landscape amid the ongoing global downturn. MarketForce’s downturn began last year when some VCs defaulted on their Series A funding commitments, forcing the company to scale back operations and conduct multiple rounds of layoffs. This financial hurdle underscores a broader trend of startups finding it harder to raise capital, thereby prompting strategic shifts in their operational models.

Further, it's relevant to discuss how MarketForce's super-app, RejaReja, positioned the firm within the e-commerce ecosystem. This application was integral to the company’s value proposition, where it facilitated the direct ordering of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) from distributors and manufacturers by informal retailers. Significantly, the closure of operations in Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Tanzania effectively implies that this tool will no longer be at the disposal of mom-and-pop stores in these markets, alluding to a deprivation of the potential growth that the app could have achieved.

Notably, business viability and shift in market realities have led MarketForce to repurpose its growth strategy. The model of growth at any cost is increasingly being substituted by the pursuit of profitability. The company, for example, recently raised $1 million through crowdfunding, a move that evidently deviates from earlier fundraising methods. It illustrates how the company is seeking alternative avenues to counter the prevailing VC scenario and notably curate sustainable growth pathways despite the market retreat.

Post-market Exit Strategy and Operational Changes of MarketForce

MarketForce, the Kenyan B2B e-commerce platform, has faced numerous obstacles and has taken decisive steps in the face of capital constraints and shifting market dynamics. Steering away from the principle of relentless growth, the company acknowledged the necessity to refocus its strategy for profitability. The decision to withdraw from certain markets and cease operations in three of its five operational territories marked a drastic adaptation enacted under challenging circumstances, triggering a pivotal stage in the company's evolution.

In its strategic restructure, MarketForce is laying the foundation for a venture coined as social commerce. The headquarters in Kenya will maintain its vital role, set to serve as the springboard for a social commerce spinout, under the banner of Chapters. Aimed at transforming digital engagements into business gains, Chapters offers a compelling mechanism for merchants to maximize their social media presence, hence, introducing a potent instrument fit for modern business needs.

Amidst a venture capital downturn and challenging global conditions, MarketForce's shift towards social commerce confidently signals commitment to continuous reinvention and service to local businesses. This strategic redirection reaffirms the company's potential to endure hard market climates, proving that it is not just about surviving, but thriving in adversity.

Introduction to Social Commerce

The digital ecosystem is witnessing a paradigm shift with the emergence of social commerce, a model that seamlessly blends technology and social interactions. Unlike traditional e-commerce, this phenomenon is reshaping the virtual shopping experience by offering seamless purchase functionalities natively within social media platforms. The burgeoning popularity of social commerce is a testament to the increasing reach of social media and consumers' reliance on online transactions.

The potential of social commerce extends beyond simple online transactions to encompass elements of interaction, engagement, and networking. This innovative model delivers a platform where the vendor-buyer relationship is not just transactional, but, importantly, based on a holistic interaction model. This structure stimulates shopping decisions that are more spontaneous, personal, influenced by social factors, and informed.

Offering a departure from the conventional, social commerce eradicates the barriers, that traditionally existed in e-commerce, by actively involving consumers within its ecosystem. Together, these factors reflect the contemporary shift of commerce, with digitalization as its foundation and a pronounced focus on social interactions. Hence, it is clear that the next frontier of the digital commerce evolution will be deeply ingrained in the fabric of social connectivity.

MarketForce's Adoption of Social Commerce: A Study of Potential and Execution

MarketForce has decided to enter the diverse world of social commerce. As part of the execution, they are in the early stages of launching a new venture called "Chapters". Chapters aim to provide a unique platform for merchants, assisting them to capitalize on conversations across their social media channels, and convert them into sales. This ambitious strategy embodies MarketForce's larger vision of constantly reinventing itself based on the prevailing market dynamics. The platform further exemplifies the company's inherent dedication to continuously provide quality service, even in globally challenging conditions.

While maintaining Kenya as its headquarters, MarketForce is testing waters with this innovative social commerce model. Importantly, such kind of forward-thinking presents a two-pronged perspective. Firstly, the move leverages the substantive growth of digital platforms in stimulating commerce. Secondly, it signifies a strategic deviation from previous operational landscapes and signals a tactical shift towards harnessing digital connectivity to fuel business growth. The direction also demonstrates the company's capacities to thrive and stay relevant amid unfavorable market climates.

The move also presents an essential ripping effect. Entering into the social commerce zone indicates a significant shift in the company's operational philosophy. This strategic pivot reflects MarketForce's resolution in exploring more lucrative and high-margin regions in the business landscape. More so, the social commerce venture helps merchants accomplish more than just financial transactions. It enables the creation of a collaborative network based on interactions, engagements, and relationship building. In this new paradigm, shopping decisions become more spontaneous, personal, and socially influenced. Thus, it showcases the potential of the company’s new chapter and its ability to bring a revolutionary change in the realm of digital commerce.


MarketForce, a prominent company in the business landscape, has exited three markets and is now venturing into the realm of social commerce. This strategic move comes as a result of unfavorable investment dynamics in the venture capital landscape. The company aims to focus on profitability and sustainable growth pathways by seeking alternative avenues such as crowdfunding. MarketForce is launching a social commerce spinout called Chapters, which aims to help merchants maximize their social media presence and transform digital engagements into business gains. This shift towards social commerce demonstrates the company's commitment to continuous reinvention and ability to thrive in challenging market climates.

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