Cash-to-goods money transfers firm Afrimarket has raised $2.3m (EUR 2 million) funding round from Orange and EUR 1 million from BIM investment fund to help scale the 30,000-customer firm to launch in Mali and Cameroon and scale its operations in Orange markets.
Unlike Western Union, Afrimarket transfers funds aimed at purchasing food, home appliances, health, construction among others via its network of vendors in Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin and Togo for a 5 percent commission on the vouchers sent.
Orange Group and Afrimarket last year entered into a commercial partnership to integrate Orange Money into the system to help users in Europe to pay directly for everyday goods or services in partner retail outlets for contacts living in Africa.
Founded by Rania Belkahia, Jeremy Stoss and François Sevaistre in France, Afrimarket has grown quickly, aided by an innovative business model and broad knowledge of cross-border transfers and African immigrant populations in Europe.
Pierre Louette, Deputy CEO of Orange, “Afrimarket is a start-up in the development phase with an original and promising offer. It’s a good example of the type of project that our new Orange Digital Ventures fund is interested in investing in. We’re supplementing Orange’s existing open innovation initiatives, such as Orange Fab”.
Orange recently unveiled Orange Digital Ventures to invest into startups in its markets. Orange Digital Ventures follows Orange Fab, which the firm launched early last year to help start-ups grow their businesses and develop amazing products and services that benefit Orange and its customers.
Afrimarket works similarly to Kenya’s Mamamikes.