Afrimarket, a cash-to-goods Money Transfer firm has raised a record € 10 million from British investment fund Global Innovation Fund and PROPARCO, the subsidiary of the French Development Agency to expand in six new markets in French West Africa and launch new technology tools.
According to Rania Belkahia, C0-founder & CEO Afrimarket, the firm, which has a presence in Côte d’Ivoire will expand to Senegal, Cameroon, Benin and Togo in October this year and into Mali and Burkina Faso in 2017.
“We want to become actor reference of e-commerce in francophone West Africa. Today we book in every country in less than five days, but we can still improve delivery, including working on the last kilometer, “ Belkahia told French daily Les Echos. With over 75 employees, Afrimarket also aims to strengthen its teams in each of this countries to double down on growth.
Afrimarket started in France with its major focus on French West Africa. It enabled Africans in France to cash tied to good and services back home say shopping, medicine school fees among other things. The platform wanted to cut down on the high costs of sending money back home so it came up with a cash-to-goods model which has seen it drive down remittance fees by using an online system to buy stuff for people back home instead of sending hard cash.
With this € 10 million raise, Afrimarket has raised a total of € 13 million since its launch three years ago. Though Afrimarket began as a remittance service for the African community in France, allowing them to send money back home, it has gradually morphed into an eCommerce like giant, allowing senders to buy stuff on its platform for their loved ones back home. Belkahia tells Les Echos this funds will also help it develop its own huge eCommerce platform for the region.
In January 2015, the firm 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. This latest raise shows the increasing confidence of investors in their business model.