Nigerian-founded and London-based startup, Oja, has raised $3,400,000 in a pre-seed funding round led by LocalGlobe.
Oja is a cultural Yoruba word that means market and is focused on providing ethnic grocery delivery service to strengthen operations with the current funds raised.
Investors who also participated in the round included Acequia Capital, Tiny VC and black angel group, HoaQ Fund. Angel investors included Darren Shapland, CFO of Sainsbury’s; David Vismans, CPO of Booking.com; Dimple Patel, COO of Trouva; Anton Soulier, formerly Deliveroo, now CEO of Taster; Sharmadean Reid, CEO of The Stack World; Spoken Word poet Suli Breaks; Azeem Azhar, with a family link to the Asian food manufacturer TRS; and Riccardo Zacconi, co-founder of King.com.
Founded in 2020, Oja offers delivery services, shipping orders to clientele from its warehouses and is focused on Afro-Caribbean cultures. Included in the company’s plans is to expand its inventory and app to serve a diverse range of ethnicities and cultures by stocking the foods and other wares such as beauty products, which are in high demand in these communities.
To achieve these, the startup seeks to modify its app to provide “a unique culturally-specific shopping experience”.
Speaking on the round, Mariam Jimoh, founder of Oja said: “Food is intrinsically linked to who we are, and how we relate to our cultures. It offers us a sense of familiarity, it stirs emotions and memories.”
“It’s a means of connection between family and friends over shared meals, recipes passed down through the generations, and there are stories behind the food. Each one represents a marker of our identity.”
“We’re not building just another grocery delivery platform. We’re building an online destination for cultural communities; one that enables people to connect with their heritage and feel a sense of belonging. Wherever and whatever feels like home to them.”
George Henry, general partner at LocalGlobe, comments: “In a sea of grocery delivery services and apps, Oja stands out for taking a new and refreshing approach. One that centres on community, heritage, and access, as much as speed, convenience and variety.”
“From the use of technology to her relationship and deep connections with suppliers and her full-stack approach, Mariam and her team are building a game-changing company that is set to raise the bar for the underserved communities across London, the UK and Europe.”