Ivory Coast Ecommerce Startup ANKA, Formerly Afrikrea, Raises $ 6.2M Ahead of Series A – TechCrunch

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A study of McKinsey and company on overall e-commerce activities in Africa says consumer spending will reach more than $ 2 trillion in the next three years. A large part of this expenditure corresponds to the importation of products, first of all influenced by consumer demand and the positioning of the main e-commerce platforms in Africa.

Afrikrea, an Ivorian startup founded in 2016, is one of the few platforms that facilitates the export of products. That has raised a pre-Series A round of $ 6.2 million while renaming it to ANKA, the SaaS platform that launched for sellers in partnership with DHL and Visa in april of last year.

Moulaye Stool launched Afrikrea with kadry diallo other Luc B. Perussault Diallo as a marketplace for African inspired fashion, clothing, accessories, arts and crafts. Last year, Afrikrea said it served more than 7,000 sellers from 47 African countries and buyers from 170 countries..

After doing some research, the founders noticed that these marketers also interacted with other channels, such as websites or social media. For them, it made sense to build another platform: ANKA – where merchants, with an omnichannel dashboard, can display your sales and inventory through all these channels: Afrikrea, social networks and websites.

Other features such as a customizable online store, payment links, and access to various payment and logistics methods added to the platform’s appeal for Afrikrea merchants. The appeal extended to the company itself, resulting in a name change despite the market seeing 250% year-on-year growth since its launch.

“The main goal behind that is to reflect our much broader purpose and mission now. And also a much greater product offering, as we will serve not only fashion people, but also all industries where someone wants to export African products, ”CEO Taboure told TechCrunch in an interview.

Afrikrea is now one of the features on the ANKA website. Others include a custom online store (like Shopify), which It is linked to sellers’ social media platforms and marketplace channels (such as Stripe, Gumroad, or PayPal); access to shipping products with DHL; and receive payments in multiple currencies (including the option to buy now and pay later).

“So wherever you sell, on social media, in the Afrikrea market or on your website, everything it ends up on a dashboard, ”said the CEO. “Can you drive everything your orders and a wallet to receive payments and withdraw your money easily. “

ANKA is free to use when sellers fill their product catalogs or generate paid links. But nevertheless, once sellers decide to start using the software to accept payments or make a sale, they pay €10 (~ $ 12) to access the service monthly. So sellers pay €10 (~ $ 12) upfront for the platform’s website hosting or shipping services.

Taboure told TechCrunch that about 40% of his 13,000+ subscribers don’t use the marketplace. for them, ANKA serves to generate payment links to use in other channels or fulfill orders from other channels. He said the company is developing a mobile app to facilitate the process.

Having gobbled up Afrikrea’s business base, ANKA has sellers from 47 out of 54 countries in Africa.. ANKA also mentioned that more than 80% of its vendors are women, who have increased their income by 50% on average since joining the ANKA community..

The platform also records more than 700,000 visits from its buyers who have transacted more than $ 35 million on the platform.. In a statement, ANKA said that these buyers come from 174 countries, most of them settled down in Europe and North America. According to Taboure, buyers are mainly from France and the United States; they represent 90% of ANKA’s sales.

In the last decade, the growth of e-commerce in Africa has been headed by companies like Jumia, Takealot and Mall4Africa. In 2015, MallforAfrica partnered with DHL and launched DHL Africa eShop with the logistics giant four years later.

But recent struggles, from the currency devaluation to the withdrawal of investors, have forced the startup to take a long break (although he claims to be re-strategizing), raising new questions about the viability of some e-commerce models in Africa. But Taboure believes that his company is protected from such events because it serves the market in reverse..

“Most of the e-commerce tested so far has been from Africans trying to buy abroad. And yes, when you do that, you have currency and logistics issues that are completely different.. We are the opposite. We are trying to make Africans earn in foreign currency. So if it was, to be honest, it’s almost like we’re operating in two different worlds, ”he said.

“We are probably one of the few startups that are trying not to alone to make Africans spend their money or buy more things. In fact, we want to help them make money globally and create value on the global stage. IdeallyIn this way, we contribute to solidify our economies in much more than one way ”.

In an interview TechCrunch had with the CEO last year, it touted ANKA as the largest e-commerce exporting company on the continent, stating that it ships more than 10 tons of cargo per month from Africa. These kinds of numbers make investors’ mouths water; In ANKA’s case, e-commerce heavyweights like Joseph Tsai.

The Alibaba executive and billionaire participated in the round with BESTSELLER Foundation, whose president is one of the largest shareholders of both ASOS and Zalando.

French venture and impact capital firm focused on Africa Investors and Partners (I&P) led the round. In a statement, its co-CEO, Sebastien Boye, said that I&P invested in ANKA because the company is at the heart of his firm’s strategy: talented and ambitious founders, significant growth, value creation and a compelling impact thesis.

Other investors include VestedWorld, Enigmo, Groupe Prunay, Rising Tide Africa and SAVIU Ventures, the main investor in ANKA’s initial round. In total, the company, which Lofty Inc Capital and other local investors, has raised $ 8.1 million.

“We are very happy to have some venture capitalists in the round, but also entrepreneurs who have already done what we did. That is something we are very proud of and very intentional in building the round if we focus on having the best people at the table to help us grow. “

The company said the pre-Series A round will help it build its mobile SaaS infrastructure and further product development.. ANKA also plans hire talent through technology, finance, sales and marketing to join his team of 30 people on four continents.