Afrikrea, an Ivorian e-commerce startup has raised $6.2M pre-Series A round led by Investisseurs & Partenaires. The startup has also rebranded to “ANKA”.
The new investment includes participation from Alibaba’s Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai, BESTSELLER Foundation, VestedWorld, Enigmo, Groupe Prunay and Rising Tide Africa. They join existing investors SAVIU Ventures (who is also participating in the round), Lofty Inc, Kepple Africa, Consonance, id4 Ventures and Thierry Petit. The additional funding brings the company’s total investment to date to US$8.1M since being founded in 2016.
The startup plans to use the new capital to build out the mobile infrastructure of ANKA’s e-commerce SaaS, allowing effortless global access for its retailers, as well as investing in further product development. The funding will also be used to boost talent acquisition across its product, sales and finance teams, while looking to hire more remote developers.
ANKA has grown its retailer base to include sellers from 47 out of 54 African countries and completed over $35M in transactions in 174 countries worldwide. More than 80% are women who have grown their revenue by 50% on average since joining the ANKA community. The platform currently records over 700,000+ visits a month with the majority of customers located in Europe and North America. Now operating as one of several channels under the ANKA umbrella, Afrikrea.com retailers will still have access to the ANKA platform and its expanded services, content and support to drive business growth.
Originally founded as an online marketplace for selling and buying African-inspired clothing, accessories, arts and crafts, Afrikrea recorded 250% y-o-y growth since 2016. In order to better support its sellers and the rapid scaling of the business, ANKA was launched in 2021 as the first of its kind all-in-one SaaS solution to provide a seamless e-commerce service for African micro-retailers. ANKA, (meaning “Ours” in Bambara and Djoula), aims to build an infrastructure dedicated to powering e-commerce for its 13,000+ sellers exporting literally “all things made of Africa” to a global audience.
ANKA operates as an inclusive SaaS allowing sellers to sell via a customised online storefront (like Shopify), linked to sellers’ social media platforms and marketplace channels (such as Stripe, Gumroad or PayPal), ship globally with verified best rates via leading logistics partner DHL and receive payments internationally in all currencies, including a free Buy Now Pay Later option, and the ability to withdraw funds through local African payment methods like mobile money
Sellers can also manage the lifecycle of all transactions with a single omni-channel dashboard as well as sell on the Afrikrea.com marketplace.
With the company generating more revenue from the addition of these multiple services, the evolution of ANKA as a comprehensive e-commerce platform was imminent. As the company positions itself as an African leader of commerce, the all-inclusive nature of the new name reflects its pan-African reach and expanded scale of operations across the beauty, food, textiles, agricultural and industrial sectors, providing new routes to market and opportunities for thousands of sellers on the continent.
“We have recorded unprecedented growth since the launch of ANKA last year; since then our subscribers tripled and volume on the newest services has multiplied by 8 just over the last 6 months. As our vision and clients’ needs had outgrown the singular purpose of the Afrikrea marketplace, operating under ANKA provides a more holistic description of our mission as a pan-African company. Through the ANKA platform, which integrates every aspect of business, we now serve sellers, not just in fashion, but in what will be a variety of sectors in over 80% of the African countries.” Moulaye Taboure, CEO and Co-Founder of ANKA said.
“ Instead of trying to get Africans to buy more or spend faster, ANKA will be one the few companies that actually help them earn, own and create, at a global scale. Growth, velocity, volume and “financial inclusion” are all empty words without value creation, distribution and worldwide scale. Most of Africa’s development problems will not be solved by just better efficiencies in moving cash, we need to produce, sell and build for the world to matter.” He added.
ANKA says is expanding its fully remote team of 30 on 4 continents and recruiting for a number of roles including product management, sales, finance and remote developers.