Ethnic grocery app, Oja raises $3.4m on its mission to build the first online supermarket for the UK’s growing cultural communities
Oja – the ethnic grocery delivery service on a mission to give rich and diverse communities access to the very best in cultural produce – has raised $3.4m in pre-seed funding in a round led by LocalGlobe. Acequia Capital, Tiny VC and black angel group, HoaQ Fund also participated in the round, alongside leading angels associated with Sainsbury’s, Taster, Booking.com, Deliveroo, Trouva and King.com.
Founded in 2020 on the idea that no matter where people live they should be able to access products from any and every culture, Oja is diversifying the grocery industry by putting ethnic products just a few clicks away. A grocery industry that has historically failed to cater for the increasingly broad range of cultures in the UK, and one that has barely innovated in this space for decades.
Through the Oja app, customers from a wide, and growing range of cultures can order produce from a selection of the very best suppliers, handpicked by Oja’s team. Oja – which is Yoruba, a Nigerian language, for “market” – then ships orders from its own warehouses and dark stores to homes across London. At launch, Oja is focused on Afro-caribbean cultures, the largest communities in the capital, and has plans to expand further to cover more cultures, and more communities nationwide in the coming year.
“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,” said Mariam Jimoh, Oja’s founder and recent Forbes 30 under 30 award winner. “It’s a means of connection between family and friends over shared meals, recipes passed down through the generations, and there are stories behind food. Each one representing a marker of our identity. At Oja, 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.”