Soko Inc. 4

With EUR 100,000 B-Corp SOKO will be able to procure ethically sourced products from 2,300 Kenyan artisans and sell these products in 64 countries worldwide.

  • Direct investment
  • 5 new jobs
  • 2300 people reached



12 months



Annual interest



6 months

Repayment period
Fully funded in 10 hours on 19 March 2020.
+ 230 other investors

Due to a tax treaty with the United States this project is only available for Dutch tax payers. Before the 1st payment we will ask you to fill in a form, to prevent SOKO for paying double taxes.

About the issuer

IMPORTANT NOTE: high risk product - direct loan to a company. No local financial institution in between to cover risks.

Basic info:

  • Issuer:                                     SOKO Inc
  • Currency:                                EURO
  • Amount:                                  100,00 senior debt
  • Maturity:                                 12 months, semi-annually and linearly amortizing
  • Interest rate:                           6.25% p.a.

Direct loan

This is a direct loan to a company (rather than lending to a financial institution) and therefore it is recommendable that you are careful with the amount you will invest. 


Information document of the issuer


SOKO is a manufacturing platform and ethical lifestyle brand that brings together artisan communities in the developing world with consumers worldwide. The innovative supply chain uses mobile technology to connect independent artisan entrepreneurs directly to SOKO and the global marketplace. Unlike centralized factory production, they are using technology and systems design to empower human capital, not displace it.

The project

SOKO is driven by purpose—to empower marginalized artisans and the communities in which they live by preserving artisanal production techniques and cultural heritage for future generations. The working capital facility with Lendahand will enable SOKO to procure ethically sourced products which are sold through our retail accounts and own direct to consumer business The products are sold in over 64 countries and in over 600 points of distribution across United States, Europe, Asia, Canada and Australia.

Business model

SOKO’s current revenue stream comes through two distinct channels - wholesale sales to retailers across the globe and through our Direct to Consumer e-commerce platform that also ships to consumers globally. We have over 500 points of distribution in 64 different countries.

The goal in 2020 is to create an additional revenue stream through a SaaS business model. SOKO’s Virtual Resource Planning (VRP) system has enabled the integrity and ease of managing a distributed virtual supply chain; in the form of creating purchase orders, monitoring delivery of goods, managing inventory levels within the internal value-addition chain, monitoring asset loans, generating control logs, tracking deposits/payments, and tracking the financial history of each artisan.

They are in “pilot” phase with the first customer and hope to continue adding additional customers this year and early next year to continue proving the value of the technology the way they did with the SOKO brand. 

Products range

The YTD 2019 current product ranges are:

  • Earrings - 48%
  • Rings - 13%
  • Bracelets - 23%
  • Necklaces - 16%


We launched a collaboration with The Reformation - “Reformation, the " cool girl's" clothing company with stores in New York and Los Angeles, is expanding into brick-and-mortar at a time when retail brands are closing stores across America.”  

In addition, for several years we have successfully been doing collaborations with FEED and the United Nations Trust Fund (UNTF) where we have designed exclusive products for them to sell and raise money as non-profit organizations.

In early 2020, we will be launching new collaborations Zolando, Madewell and Amour Vert. All very successful brick and mortar and/or online retailers.

Target 2020

Our Sales goals for financial year 2020 is around $10m based on the base case and $6.1m based on the downside case.


  • Artisans receive an average of 22% of retained revenue.
  • 2,300+ artisans in 282 workshops throughout Kenya.
  • Artisans working with SOKO earn 5x’s more than an average artisan workshop.
  • Approximately 11,400 beneficiaries of revenue generated from sales.
  • Improved artisan business and safety practices, skill development and quality.


Additional information on SOKO


SOKO leverages technology to connect artisan entrepreneurs with the global marketplace.


SOKO aspires to be a global leader in technology-enabled distributed manufacturing, catalysing a global supply chain to create ethically produced products while creating a measurable social impact in the lives of the artisan entrepreneurs and communities in which they live.

Management team

Joanne Calabrese, CEO


President, Americas Region - The Body Shop

SVP/Head of Americas Region - Fossil Group

Vice President - Gap and Duty Free Shoppers

Divisional Merchandise Manager - Macy’s

Joshua Mwaniki , Managing Director





Marylene Otieno, Finance Director


Barefoot Power Africa

Smart Solar Limited


Jennifer Nakamura, Head of Digital Marketing and Ecommerce




Blue Martini

Viniita Moran, Director of Ecommerce


SF Museum of Modern Art

Room to Read

Owl Cave Books

Hellen Savala, Head of Human Resources




Aga Khan



Highlights or Awards

  • SOKO became BCorp certified in 2019
  • SOKO was chosen to participate in the Stanford Seed transformation plan project and we were one of 700 applicants and one of 65 companies chosen in East Africa
Company nameSoko
CEOJoanne Calabrese
LocationSan Fransisco
SectorManufacturing / Production

Impact of this project

  • With this investment 5 jobs are created
  • With this investment 2300 people are reached

About the investment

TypeDirect investment
Funding target€100,000
Annual interest6.25%
Maturity12 months
Repayment periodSemiannually
Terms and conditionsShow
Note termsDownload
Information document issuerDownload

About the risks

What are the risks of investing money?

The risk level depends on the specific project. Local partners cover the risk of currency exchange rates and defaults on Local Partner investments. They do this by maintaining financial reserves for this purpose. Aside from that, there is an option to claim their equity if needed. While these measures are intended to minimize the risk to investors, our local partners face risks of their own that could affect their ability to secure your investment. These include - bankruptcy - currency exchange rates - fraud - operational risks - political and regulatory changes - natural disasters or epidemics.

With direct investments, risks of default are not covered. As the risks are higher, so are the interest rates.

There is also some operational risk at Lendahand. An example might be that Lendahand is unable to find shareholders to finance their activities. In such a case, Lendahand will handle outstanding investments at the best of its ability. At the same time, our ability to legally address non-payment from local partners becomes understandably difficult.

How does Lendahand minimize the risks?

Every local partner must share our social mission to ensure local entrepreneurs can access affordable financing, allowing them to grow their business. Local partners must also have a 'track record'; they must have proven themselves as a reliable credit provider for SMEs.

For instance, this means a solid credit portfolio and enough buffers and equity to compensate for unexpected downturns. We also check the organizational structure of the portfolio company and how robust their (internal) procedures are. Finally, the investments must be in proportion to the total balance of that portfolio company. A healthy balance between effectuating influence and being independent is crucial. If you would like to receive more information on the financial indicators we employ, please contact us via

When currency exchange risks become too high for a local partner, Lendahand will urge the local partner to cover these risks. In some scenarios, the local partner is contractually obliged to comply with these demands.

Lendahand always conducts due diligence when companies request funding. The results can be downloaded on the project detail page. However, this analysis is not investing advice.

Does Lendahand provide a guarantee?

Usually we don't. Local partners take care of the repayment, even if (some) entrepreneurs are unable to do so themselves. If the local partner is for some reason unable to repay then there is a chance of partial or full loss of your money. For this reason, Lendahand only selects financially solid partners based on strict criteria.

For most direct investments, there is no guarantee. However, currency risks are covered.

Sometimes, and only for some direct investments in Africa, our partner Sida, part of the Swedish government, will guarantee a maximum of 50%. Read here more about guarantees with Sida. Projects with Sida guarantees are indicated explicitly on the project page.

Does Lendahand have a license or exemption?

Yes. The Dutch Authority Financial Markets (AFM) has provided Hands-on B.V. (with trade name 'Lendahand') in September 2016 with an investment firm license in accordance with article 2:96 of the Financial Markets Supervision Act (Wft). Placing orders on Lendahand's website is therefore an AFM regulated activity. Lendahand also meets its minimum capital requirements following its license as required by De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB).

Lendahand uses an exemption from an approved prospectus that is available up to EUR 5 Million per year. 

How safe are my personal details?

We adhere to strict safety requirements concerning private and payment details. All sensitive data is sent through an encrypted connection (https). Also, information is stored (encrypted) in a secured facility provided by AWS: the world’s largest hosting service. A secured connection and multi-factor authentication can only retrieve customer documents.

What happens if the local currency devaluates?

Our local partners and companies bear the exchange rate risks. We settle the investments, redemptions, and interest payments in euro.

Does Lendahand use a third foundation fund?

Lendahand works with Intersolve EGI: a Dutch financial institution specializing in payment settlement and electronic money. To be able to offer these financial services, Intersolve EGI must comply with the applicable financial legislation. Intersolve EGI is therefore supervised by De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) and the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) and owns a license to act as an Electronic Money Institution (and therefore also has a license as a Payment Institution). Your money will be deposited on a protected and secure bank account until the project you have invested in has been fully funded. Intersolve has no access to these funds. Once the project is fully funded, the money is transferred to the local partner or company in question.

What happens with my money if Lendahand goes bankrupt?

If Hands-On BV (containing the brand name Lendahand) went bankrupt, trades between Lendahand and payment service provider Intersolve EGI would cease immediately. Intersolve will then transfer the funds in your wallet to your bank account (Note: if at this time the project you have invested in has been fully funded and the money has thus been transferred to the local partner, these funds will not be transferred back to your bank account). Intersolve will then, in consultation with a trustee, handle all repayments between the investors and entrepreneurs until the final repayment of the last project has taken place.

Additionally, Lendahand is part of the investor compensation scheme (ICS). This scheme aims to compensate individuals and small businesses with trusted money and or financial instruments (such as notes or options) to a licensed bank, an investment firm, or a financial institution. In case the financial firm is unable to meet its obligations arising from claims related to the investment service (in other words, if Hands-On BV is not keeping track of the acquired notes by investors in the Wge depot correctly). The ICS guarantees an amount of up to €20.000 per individual. For more information, go to

Why is Intersolve EGI handling my money?

As part of the AFM license for investment firms, it is required that operational activities carried out by Lendahand (maintaining the website, contracting of local partners, legal issues, etc.) are strictly separated from financial transactions (payments made through the website). Intersolve takes care of the costs. This collaboration offers you more security since your money is placed on a protected bank account immediately after making your payment.

What happens when a local partner goes bankrupt?

When a local partner goes bankrupt, there’s a chance you’ll lose (part of) your money. Lendahand will try to recover outstanding payments, but the success rate is limited in such situations. For you, as an investor, there’s no possibility of taking action against the financial institution. Therefore, it is recommendable to choose several different projects.

About Soko

Total assets€2,460,552
Leverage ratio86.00%

We have already contributed for Soko Inc. 4

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