Kenyan startup Wowzi has raised $2 million in seed funding to expand its digital marketplace across Africa. The round was led by 4DX Ventures with participation from To.org, Golden Palm Investments, LoftyInc Capital, Afropreneur Angels, and Future Africa.
Other participants in the round included Andela co-founder Christina Sass, and former Andela executives Jessica Chervin, Justin Ziegler, as well as Johnny Falla, who currently serves as chief development and growth officer at Wowzi.
This round brings the total amount raised by the startup to $3.2 million having raised another $1.2 pre-seed round over the last few months.
”This is an incredible milestone for Wowzi, as we position ourselves to expand across the African continent in 2022.” the company said in a statement.
Wowzi says it plans to use the new funding to set up operations in Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa as well as unveil new products. The startup currently operates in Uganda and Tanzania.
Wowzi is a digital advertising marketplace that connects brands, agencies, and SMEs with nano and mega social media influencers. Wowzi’s self-serve online platform allows brands of any size or industry to create and manage massive, distributed messaging campaigns utilizing thousands of real, everyday customers and fans who get paid to offer authentic endorsements online for the products they already love. Through scalable marketing automation, brands can run massive, hyper-targeted campaigns that achieve higher ROI for marketing dollars, consistently delivering better sales leads while increasing conversions.
In its first 18 months of operation, Wowzi says it has on-boarded 70,000 influencers across Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, primarily through word of mouth.
The company said it plans to expand partnerships with local, regional, and multinational FMCG companies, Telcos, Banks, Creative Agencies, and Development Institutions to create job opportunities for young people.
”Our mission is to connect capacity to opportunity, and that’s precisely what the platform does for emerging creators. We set an ambitious goal of creating 1 million jobs for African youth, and already this year we’ve delivered nearly 200,000 such paid gigs.” Wowzi co-Founder Mike Otieno said.
Wowzi co-Founder and CEO says the company is building the world’s best technology that can scale globally to meet the evolving needs of users and brands.
Wowzi says it is committed to returning as much value as possible to creators. It says nearly 90% of Wowzi’s weekly payouts are distributed to thousands for micro and nano creators. This bucks the trend of most creator platforms today, where a few celebrity personalities at the top take home the lion’s share of total earnings, making it impossible for emerging talent to break through.