We are incredibly excited to announce our first investment in Africa as we back Jess Anuna and her vision to build technology for cross-border commerce with Klasha as part of a $2.4 million seed round led by Greycroft. We’re delighted to participate alongside a number of close friends including Seedcamp Expert in Residence and former Marketing head at Wise, Joe Cross; Gumtree Co-founder, Michael Pennington and First Round VC, Practical VC, Plug and Play, Expert Dojo and 2.12 Angels.
Not every partnership happens overnight. We first met Jess back in 2018 and were incredibly impressed with her experience at the likes of Shopify, Net-a-Porter, and Amazon and stayed close as she’s since pivoted and evolved Klasha to take on the massive undertaking of building technology for cross-border commerce to enable the 400 million+ internet users in Africa to more seamlessly transact online.
Africa presents vast opportunities for scaling quickly in commerce, with the total value of e-commerce expected to reach $29 billion by 2022. Still, the ability to pay online with African money methods including cards, M-Pesa, bank transfer and mobile money is challenging for consumers on the ground. Klasha believes that consumers in Africa should have built technology to facilitate the same frictionless access to the goods they want regardless of their geographic location.
“By 2025, half of the world’s population will live in Africa. At Klasha, we’re building the technology to facilitate frictionless cross-border payments and allow international businesses to scale seamlessly into Africa through our API,” Jessica comments. “Equally, we’re giving consumers in Africa the same access to the global e-commerce economy experienced on other continents. It is imperative that African consumers are able to remain globally competitive, which includes having access to the goods they want without payment or delivery restrictions.”
The appeal of Klasha’s core technology is that it allows African consumers to pay international online and offline retailers in African currencies through their preferred African payment method (card, bank account, USSD, M-Pesa, Mobile Money), while the retailers receive payouts in their dominant currencies, such as USD, GBP, EUR. Klasha has built several plug-in integrations for WooCommerce, OpenCart and BigCommerce. They also offer several other features such as checkout, payment links for merchants with no e-commerce front, wire transferring and a mobile app to allow for payments across friends and family.
In the past few months, Klasha has continued to power international businesses with the tools they need to grow and expand into Africa. Within five short months of launching, Klasha has already processed more than 20,000 transactions across Africa with an average 366% MoM growth rate.
Our Managing Partner, Reshma Sohoni, comments, ‘’As Africa continues to undergo digitisation, there’s an increasing opportunity for online businesses in Europe and the US to garner market share quickly by accepting payments online in African currencies due to the nascent stage of commerce on the continent. Klasha is our first investment in Africa which will allow frictionless scalability for merchants into the continent through their cross-border payment technology, enabling billions of underserved consumers to access their services.’’
With this investment, Klasha will expand its technology to help international B2B and B2C businesses such as ASOS, Zara, Amazon, or Zoom to receive payments seamlessly online in African currencies from consumers across Africa. Klasha’s core technology allows African consumers to pay international online and offline retailers in African currencies while the retailers receive payouts in their dominant currencies, including USD, GBP, EUR. Klasha is currently available in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya and will invest in driving more revenue, growing its current 10,000 customer base, and expanding into new markets with three more African countries set to go live by Q4 this year.
We are incredibly excited for the journey ahead with Jess and the Klasha team.
If you’d like to join Klasha and are building an early-stage business that has the potential to radically change how we live, interact and buy, let us know what you’re building here.