Ivorian e-commerce startup ANKA, formerly Afrikrea, raises $6.2M pre-Series A – TechCrunch

Study by McKinsey & Company On general e-commerce activities in Africa, he says consumer spending will reach more than $2 trillion in the next three years. A large part of this expenditure falls under import of products, in the first place influenced by consumer demand and positioning of major e-commerce platforms in Africa.

Afrikrea, a startup from Ivory Coast founded in 2016, is one of the few platforms that facilitates the export of products. He. She It raised $6.2 million for Pre-Series A while rebranding to ANKA, the SaaS platform it launched for sellers in partnership with DHL and Visa in April last year.

Moulay launched Afrikrea queue with My destiny Diallo And Luke B. Perrosault Diallo As a market for fashion, apparel, accessories, arts and crafts in Africa. Last year, Africa said it had served more than 7,000 sellers from 47 African countries and buyers from 170 countries.

After doing some research, the founders noticed that these sellers also transact with other channels, such as websites or social media. For them, it made sense to build another platform – ANKA – where merchants, using a multi-channel dashboard, could, Foreman Their sales and inventory are across all these channels: Afrikrea, social media, and websites.

Other features such as a customizable online storefront, payment links, and access to various payment methods and logistics have been added to the platform’s appeal to Africa’s merchants. The appeal extended to the company itself, resulting in a name change even though the market has registered 250% year-over-year growth since its launch.

“The main goal behind this is to reflect our much bigger goal and mission now. And also to offer much larger products because we will serve not just people in fashion but in every industry where anyone would like to export African products,” CEO Taboure told TechCrunch in an interview.

Afrikrea is now a feature on the ANKA website. Others include a dedicated online storefront (such as Shopify), which linked to sellers’ social media platforms and marketplace channels (eg Stripe, Gumroad, or PayPal); access to shipping products with DHL; and receive payments in different currencies (including the option to buy now and pay later).

Wherever you sell, on social media, Afrikrea marketplace or your website, all “It ends up being in one dashboard,” the CEO said. “You can manage all Your orders and one wallet to earn money and withdraw your money Easily.”

ANKA is free to use when sellers fill out their product catalogs or generate payment links. HoweverOnce sellers decide to start using the software to accept payments or make a sale, they pay €10 (~$12) to access the service per month. Sellers also pay Euro10 (~$12) upfront for platform shipping or website hosting services.

Tabbour told TechCrunch that about 40% of her 13,000-plus subscribers don’t use the marketplace. for them, ANKA creates payment links to use on other channels or fulfill orders from other channels. He said the company is building a mobile app to make the process more seamless.

After sweeping the merchant base in Africa, ANKA has sellers from 47 out of 54 countries in Africa. ANKA also stated that over 80% of its sellers are women, and their revenue has grown by 50% on average since they joined 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. ANKA said in a statement that these buyers come from 174 countries, most of them based on In Europe and North America. According to Taburi, the buyers are on the principle from France and the United States; They represent 90% of ANKA’s sales.

In the past decade, the growth of e-commerce in Africa has been led Companies like Jumia, Takealot and Mall4Africa. In 2015, MallforAfrica partnered with DHL and DHL Africa eShop launched With the logistics giant after four years.

But recent struggles from devaluation to investor withdrawal have forced the startup to be on hold for an extended period (although it claims a reclassification), raising new questions about the viability of some e-commerce models in Africa. But Taburi believes that his company is protected from such events because it serves the market in the opposite direction.

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

“we probably One of the few startups that doesn’t try it Just To make Africans spend their money or buy more things. We actually want to help them make money globally and create value on the global stage. IdeallyIn this way, we contribute to the consolidation of our economies in more than one way.”

In a TechCrunch interview with the CEO last year, he described ANKA as the largest e-commerce export startup on the continent, claiming that it ships more than 10 tons of merchandise per month from Africa. These kinds of numbers make investors tear up — in the case of ANKA, e-commerce heavyweights like Joseph Tsai..

The CEO and billionaire of Alibaba participated in the side-by-side tour BESTSELLER FOUNDATIONAnd Its president is one of the largest shareholders in both ASOS and Zalando.

French venture capital firm and Africa-focused impact company Investors and partners (I&P) led the tour. In a statement, Co-CEO Sebastian Bue said I&P invested in ANKA because the company is at the heart of his company’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 lead investor in ANKA’s initial round. In total, the company that LoftyInc Capital and other local investors againraised $8.1 million.

“We are very happy to have some bold investors on the round, but we also have entrepreneurs who have already done what we did. That is something we are very proud of and very intent in building the round is that we are focused on having it The best people at the table to help us grow.”

The company said that the preliminary round of Series A will help it build SaaS mobile infrastructure and develop more products. Anka It also plans to hire talent across technology, finance, sales and marketing to join its team of 30 people across four continents.

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