Oja brings African and Caribbean food to the fast delivery market

Londoner Mariam Jimoh worked in investment banking, often logging 5- or 6-hour days. It left her no choice but to shop online.

“When I was ordering these groceries, there was a huge subset of the products that I used to use that I just couldn’t get through delivery services,” she says.

“My parents are Nigerian immigrants. I was born and raised in Great Britain and have lived in London all my life, but I still have an affinity with the products used by my parents and this community.

To fill this gap, Jimoh launched Oja, a London-based grocery delivery startup. It launched in the city today and just got a $ 3.3 million funding round led by LocalGlobe and backed by a slew of angel investors, including Stack World Founder Sharmadean Reid and Anton Soulier, the founder of Taster.

Unlike the wave of grocery startups that Europe has seen emerge over the past year, Oja hasn’t focused on reducing delivery times to 10 or 15 minutes (he offers day-to-day delivery). same).

Instead, the aim is to widen the choice of products for the UK’s immigrant and non-white British communities, and to try to ensure that the next generation of delivery companies outperform the UK’s. stores in place, which Jimoh says don’t have a good lead. record when it comes to meeting diverse needs.

It is not the only company striving to diversify the food delivery industry. Sofaim, a French startup specializing in Asian cuisine, raised 4 million euros in seed funding last month and is taking place across Paris.

“When you’re a second-generation immigrant, food is almost the easiest thing you can have and take with you to connect with your culture,” says Jimoh.

“At this point, we are focusing on the African and Caribbean communities. Initially, the focus is on Nigerian, Ghanaian and Jamaican products, and then we will touch on other cultures as well: the countries of South Africa and maybe a few other Caribbean islands as well. “

Within this framework, it is particularly things like plantains, scotch bonnet, yams, cassava and particular cuts of meat, Jimoh says, that are in demand – products on which the traditional food industry does not rely. not wearing well.

Oja will launch tomorrow in south-east London, then roll out across London in the coming weeks.

The company will start by delivering from a warehouse before opening other dark stores in the coming months. It outsourced deliveries to a range of suppliers.

Freya Pratty is the reporter for Sifted. She tweets from @FPratty

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Michael M. Tomlin