Klasha, a San Francisco and Lagos-based technology company transforming cross-border African commerce, has secured additional funding of $2.1 million to complete its $4.5 million seed round.
The funding round included Amex Ventures – its first investment in an African-focused startup. Klasha’s funding round also included Global Ventures, a leading MEA-focused venture capital firm.
Klasha will use the proceeds to expand into five more African countries in 2022 and re-launch its consumer app – renamed KlashaCart – to allow African consumers to shop from eligible international merchants online.
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.
“We are delighted to have Amex Ventures’ investment and be backed by Global Ventures – one of the leading venture capital firms in the MEA region. It is another significant milestone for Klasha, following the first tranche of our seed round. We are excited by the huge market opportunity in Africa and what lies ahead.”
Klasha’s core checkout technology benefits consumers and merchants. It allows African consumers to pay international online merchants in African currencies and money methods at checkout and then have their 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.
The latest funding reinforces Klasha’s commitment to improving commerce for Africans and simplifying cross-border payments so that businesses can expand into a market full of energized consumers.
Launched in May 2021 by a team with combined experience at Amazon, PayPal, Mastercard, Shopify and Net-a-Porter, Klasha’s growth has been rapid. In less than a year, the Company has signed up over 1,700 merchants, processed over 210,000 transactions and is experiencing 15% MoM merchant growth. Klasha’s continued success reflects the substantial market opportunity and readiness of Africans to enjoy the same seamless cross-border transactions experienced internationally, as their economies rapidly develop.
Africa is a vast opportunity for scaling quickly in commerce. It has over 400 million internet users, and the total value of e-commerce is expected to reach $29 billion this year. However, the ability to pay online with African currencies and money methods, including cards, M-Pesa, bank transfers, and mobile money, is challenging for African consumers. Klasha believes they should have technology to facilitate the same frictionless access to goods regardless of geographic location.
Investors that participated in the round include: Amex Ventures, Global Ventures, Greycroft, Seedcamp, Plug and Play, Berrywood Capital and Breega.
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.”
Sacha Haider, Partner at Global Ventures, commented: “African consumers want the same thing as consumers everywhere else – access to quality products, at a good price, through a seamless shopping experience. Despite impressive growth, e-commerce only makes up 2-5% of total retail on the continent, highlighting the significant opportunity to provide a better experience for the 520 million digital buyers that are anticipated in Africa by 2025.
“Klasha’s end-to-end check-out solution is designed specifically for key friction points faced by the African consumer including payment methods, currency acceptance, and a fragmented logistics landscape. Jess’s global operational experience across e-commerce and logistics uniquely positions her to solve this problem, and we’re so excited to support on her journey.”
Alison Lange Engel, Partner at Greycroft, added: “Klasha is meeting the rapidly changing need for modern payments and logistics solutions for online commerce, connecting Africa and its global partners. Greycroft is excited to support founders like Jess and her experienced team who are delivering unique, enduring value for merchants and consumers.”
Klasha has built plugin integrations for WooCommerce, OpenCart, BigCommerce, and many others to drive its cross-border commerce goals. Its integration library is rapidly growing to accommodate even more platforms, including Wix, Ecwid, Magneto, and Commerce Cloud.