ANKA, an Ivorian SaaS e-commerce platform for African companies, has raised $5 million. The pre-Series A extension round is a mix of equity and debt, with ANKA, formerly Afrikrea, raising $6.2 million in January. The tech startup has secured $13.5 million from investors since its inception.
ANKA said it will use the fresh investment to strengthen product development and expand services, particularly in its key markets: Nigeria, Kenya and the United States.
ANKA is an all-in-one SaaS for worldwide African businesses. But until 2021, it was a marketplace for African-based and inspired clothing, accessories, arts, and crafts. It had sold more than 7,000 vehicles from 47 African nations and thousands of buyers from 170 countries at the time.
The rebranding to a SaaS e-commerce platform was inspired by the need to consolidate merchants' focus from other channels like websites and social media onto a single platform, Taboure said. The ANKA is a one-stop shop for exporters looking to ship globally and online merchants who use multiple channels and want to consolidate all orders on a single platform and drop shippers seeking to create jobs, produce and ship from Africa while receiving global payment.
The platform was launched in cooperation with Visa and DHL. As such, it was designed to meet the requirements of its customers in international shipping, payments, and e-commerce. The marketplace features a customizable online storefront and a omnichannel interface, where vendors can monitor their sales and inventory across Africa, social media sites, and websites. ANKA Pay enables users to purchase and sell local payment methods. DHL subsequently allows users to dispatch packages from Africa to other countries for less than $30 in less than 72 hours.
Since its last capital injection, ANKA's margins and the community of African SMEs in these 47 nations have nearly doubled. The SaaS e-commerce platform, headquartered in San Francisco, claimed to record over 700,000 monthly visits and processed $35 million in transactions. Kadry Diallo, co-founder and chief operating officer, told TechCrunch that these figures have risen to over a million visits and $50 million across 175 countries. ANKA claims its turnover has soared 18 times, from €200,000 to €3.6 million.
's why we raised an extension to strengthen our processes and build teams too,' the COO said, referring to ANKA's plans to actively recruit sales, technical, and product talent to catalyze its growth.
Most of its 20,000+ vendors are located in Nigeria and Kenya. On the other hand, the United States has a large part of its 350,000+ buyers. A traditional e-commerce trend is being reflected in this case. Among the top three African nations with the most active e-commerce consumers are Nigeria and Kenya. The United States has the highest proportion of Africans in the diaspora who shop online. France is closely linked to the U.S. on the ANKA platform. The two countries where ANKA exports its biggest exports offer a significant growth opportunity for the company, which wants to expand the investment in and sale of Africa's creative economy globally.
In surprise, Diallo, who held positions in large corporations like Renault, reported that the French departments in the Caribbean, rather than the U.S., have the largest average order size on the platform. This event demonstrates the e-commerce platform's robust presence and significant community of buyers in Francophone Africa.
Despite ANKA's upward trend, the company has encountered some difficulties associated with e-commerce platforms. In the past year, headwinds such as currency devaluations and high inflation in sub-Saharan African markets have worsened these problems. In Q2 2023, African e-commerce giant Jumia saw a decline in customers, orders, GMV, and revenue due to these headwinds. Despite these problems, Diallo claims, ANKA has discovered ways to adapt its efforts in assisting users to sell abroad. ANKA is a leading African e-commerce platform, with its reputation as a leading exporter of African products. Alibaba's Joseph Tsai, the founder of the e-commerce startup, claims to be the continent's largest e-commerce exporter. ANKA transports more than 10 tons of cargo per month, according to its website.
The International Finance Corporation led this new investment. The institutions participating included Proparco, the French investment bank Bpifrance and the fellow development finance institution Proparco. By 2030, ANKA expects to onboard 100,000 African sellers. On the other hand, the debt component will finance short-term cash cycles for activities like shipping and payment float.
IFC's managing director, Makhtar Diop, told ET's news channel. With our vision of supporting Africa's creative sector to unlock new opportunities for inclusive growth, we collaborate with the strategy of connecting artisanal fashion designers and merchants to global markets.