Lagos and San Francisco Klasha received an additional $2.1 million. complete a $4.5 million seed round. The startup, which provides several products for cross-border trading in Africa, has raised this new funding from a group of international investors co-led by American Express (AMEX) Ventures, American Express’ strategic investment group.
This is AMEX Ventures’ first investment in an African startup. The firm led the round with Global Ventures, a MENA-focused venture capital firm that has backed the likes of Tabby, Helium Health and Paymob. “I think the fact that AMEX is now investing in the continent, especially after investing in companies like Stripe, is very important,” said Klasha CEO. Jessica Anuna to TechCrunch, adding that the addition of Global Ventures is also noteworthy for the company.
First seed investors such as Greycroft, Seedcamp, Plug and Play, Berrywood Capital and Breega have doubled their investment.
Founded three years ago and launched in 2021, Klasha is entering Africa’s cross-border space in a huge e-commerce market worth over $25 billion. The startup is addressing the payment challenges that African merchants and consumers face when they pay for goods online using a variety of payment methods.
Klasha has a set of business and consumer products linked through a single API. KlashaCheckout allows merchants outside of Africa to receive payments from six countries on the continent – Nigeria, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa and Kenya – and receive payment in G20 currencies such as dollars, pounds sterling or euros. KlashaWire allows small merchants in these six countries to pay their suppliers in their local currency. These vendors receive payments in their dominant currency within three days, according to the company. With payment links, merchants who don’t have payment storefronts can share links with customers via email or social media.
Anuna said the company is up 20% month-on-month in store acquisitions and 17.5% in transaction volume. Klasha has processed more than 210,000 transactions – 10 times more than last October – from more than 1,700 merchants. Klasha earns revenue from sales commissions and subscriptions that merchants pay for using the analytics platform.
Last year, the consumer product Klasha allowed users in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya to create virtual cards, top them up with their respective currencies, and send and receive money. In an interview, Anuna said the company will update the app to help retailers like ASOS, Zara and H&M accept payments from African consumers.
“The biggest product development is an app that allows these consumers to shop at select stores like Boohoo.com, pay with their Klasha wallet, which you can top up with multiple different African currencies, and have it delivered to their door.” Anuna said.
“The main mission of Klasha is to facilitate cross-border trade from Africa to the rest of the world. And, in turn, provide the rest of the world with access to local African consumers who want and need these products around the world.”
The app, called KlashaCart, which is only available in Nigeria, will allow consumers to shop at multiple retailers using naira and receive their items within 7-14 days through Klasha’s logistics division. According to Anoon, the platform will be launched in Kenya in the next couple of months. Meanwhile, its consumer base has grown to around 45,000 customers, 4 times more than last October.
“Despite Klasha’s impressive growth, the company has room to grow,” said Sascha Haider, partner at Global Ventures. Clasha highlights the “significant opportunity” to provide a better experience for the more than 500 million digital shoppers expected across the continent by 2025 in the e-commerce market, which accounts for up to 5% of Africa’s retail space, she said.
“We hope the company’s innovative solutions will help open up commerce to African consumers and facilitate cross-border payments,” said Matt Sueoka, global head of Amex Ventures. “Klasha can drive spending by making payments easier in emerging markets and allowing merchants to scale across the continent and abroad.”
Credit: techcrunch.com /