Kasha Founder & CEO Joanna Bichsel. Image: Kasha

Kasha, a women’s health startup founded in 2016 by CEO Joanna Bichsel, has made significant strides in transforming access to healthcare products in Africa. Operating as an e-commerce platform with a specialized focus on women’s health, Kasha caters to a diverse customer base, including individual consumers, resellers, hospitals, pharmacies, and clinics. Its product range encompasses essential items such as sanitary pads, contraceptives, diapers, and cleaning supplies, making it a go-to destination for women’s healthcare needs.

In its early stages, Kasha adopted a direct-to-consumer approach, ensuring last-mile delivery of health products for women and newborns in Rwanda. As demand grew, the company swiftly expanded into the wholesale market after obtaining the required pharmaceutical license. This strategic move allowed Kasha to serve larger healthcare institutions, including pharmacies, hospitals, and clinics, effectively increasing its reach and impact in the women’s health sector. Today, Kasha’s offerings span crucial aspects of women’s health, ranging from newborn child health, maternal health, and menstrual hygiene to family planning, sexual and reproductive health, and noncommunicable diseases.

One of Kasha’s key differentiators lies in its commitment to address the stigma surrounding women’s health products. “We have always understood that women are the most influential customer in the health space, both because they have the most health needs and are decision-makers for health in the household and unlock the rest of the population. Since many health products for women are stigmatized, Kasha has purposely offered a wide variety of products, including personal care products like soap, health products like contraceptives, and household staples like rice,” Bichsel told TechCrunch in an interview. Bichsel also noted that the platform’s most sold products include HIV self-tests, contraceptives, and pregnancy tests. “We have continued to expand our variety of products purely from customer demand and the needs of the different customer segments who purchase from us, including small kiosk shops, pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and consumers.”

Kasha’s journey began in Rwanda, where it secured $1.5M in seed funding from angel and impact investors. Expanding its operations into Kenya, the company raised $3.6M in a Series A funding round from prominent investors such as Finnfund, Swedfund, DFC, and Mastercard Corporate. The recent $21M Series B funding round, led by Knife Capital and joined by various investors, positions Kasha to accelerate its expansion into South Africa and subsequently West Africa.

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