US has Craiglist, Africa has OLX but Ghana’s Tonaton.com wants to disrupt the status quo with a new funding by its mother firm Saltside Technologies for emerging markets expansion.
Tonaton meaning “buy and sell” in Ghana’s Twi, is a horizontal marketplace connecting buyers to sellers to a wide range of deals for mobile phones, cars, property and furniture among others in the country. Estelle Westling, runs Tonaton.com with a team of over 30 with plans to make it the country’s largest marketplace.
With over 600,00 unique visitors per month and an estimated 90,000-plus items listed on the site, Tonaton is the third largest local site in Ghana, even beating Naspers’ OLX by traffic according to web comparison site Alexa. Tonaton has new fuel to help it stay in control of the Ghanain market as according to a report by TechCrunch, it’s mother firm has raised $25 million in a move to dominate the classifieds market in emerging markets.
But being huge in Ghana doesn’t give it advantage over OLX in other countries where it’s the dominant player apart from South Africa where eBay’s Gumtree and JunkMail dominate. Though the funds might help it consolidate its gains in Ghana, other launchung in other markets won’t be easy.
Tonaton.com’s huge budget is now into sensitizing people and businesses on online marketing which is also earning it more users everyday. The more the people get online, the more print dies, the more users online platforms in the country will gain. The $25 million however is not just for Ghana’s Tonaton as Saltside Technologies, founded in 2011 in Sweden also runs sites in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.