Klasha, a San Francisco and Lagos-based technology company transforming cross-border African commerce, announces an additional $2.1 million in funding to complete its $4.5 million seed round. The funding round was led by Amex Ventures, which marks its first investment in an African startup. The round was also backed by Global Ventures, a leading MENA-focused venture capital firm with investments in Helium Health, Paymo, and Tabby.
The company was founded in May 2021, with a team of combined expertise across global multinationals like Paypal, Amazon, Mastercard, Shopify, etc. The startup is focused on easing payment challenges between African merchants and consumers in purchasing products online, through different payment options. It connects its various products via one API that allows merchants to collect payments from six African countries, namely, Nigeria, Zamia, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, and Kenya.
Its API is shared across through an assortment of B2B and B2C solutions that enable seamless cross-border commerce. Each of these entails:
- KlashaCheckout: A checkout that can be integrated into any e-commerce platform, website, or app that allows international merchants to collect payments from Africa in local currencies, while the merchant receives the equivalent payout in their chosen currency.
- Payment Links: An easy way for international businesses to collect payments from customers in Africa without needing a website, app, or any coding skills. With just a few clicks, businesses can create a simple custom checkout page directly from their Klasha dashboard and share it with their customers.
- KlashaCart: An in-app shopping cart that allows you to shop all your online favorite stores at once. This simply means that with a funded Klasha wallet, you can visit your favorite brands in one click and with one cart. Users can also create virtual dollar cards and pay for subscriptions and services internationally.
- KlashaWire: A feature that allows for seamless and secure cross-border B2B transactions. With this feature, small business owners can make large payments to suppliers overseas with ease in African currencies while lowering the cost of the transaction directly on the Klasha dashboard. When payments are made, the supplier generally receives it in their dominant currency in three business days.
Klasha intends to expand into five more African countries in 2022, and re-launch its consumer app – renamed KlashaCart – to allow African consumers to shop from international merchants online.
Within the space of a year, the Company has grown to over 1,700 merchants, and processed over 210,000 transactions, at an impressive 20% Month-on-Month merchant acquisition growth. The company’s success is proof of the market opportunity in the payments space, and how they are offering palpable value in bridging these divides.
Speaking on the opportunity for more growth, Jess Anuna, Founder and CEO of Klasha, said:
“Given the fragmented cross-border commerce infrastructure on the continent, it is imperative for customers in Africa to access the global e-commerce economy seamlessly and without friction. Our latest funding will allow more businesses to seamlessly tap into the African market through our API, while simultaneously giving African consumers the same access to the global e-commerce economy as experienced internationally.
The company’s basic checkout technology is both consumer- and business-facing. It enables African consumers to pay international online merchants in African currencies and money methods at checkout and then have these purchased goods shipped to the continent. Merchants receive payouts in G20 currencies and are empowered to expand into Africa by equipping them with the requisite payment tools.
Highlighting the reasons for leading the round, Matt Sueoka, Global Head of Amex Ventures, said:
“We look forward to seeing the company’s innovative solutions help open up commerce for African consumers and facilitate cross-border payments. Klasha has the potential to drive spending by making payments simpler in emerging markets and allows merchants to scale within the continent and abroad.”
With a growing middle-class and the size of disposable income on the continent, there are huge and significant opportunities that exist for players within the payments space in Africa. In spite of the proliferation of fintech companies on the continent, there are still weighty challenges with making payments on the continent, especially with African currencies. Through their platform and product, Klasha is about making frictionless payments on the African continent, for people looking to make purchases from anywhere in the world.