Jiji, a Genesis Technologies firm which bought out Naspers OLX, and sister site to Kenya’s Tuko and Nigeria’s Legit, has raised $21 million to grow its classifieds business in Africa.
Jiji’s funding round was led by Abu Dhabi-based Knuru Capital and gives it an upper hand against Ringier’s PigiaMe and Jumia’s Jumia Deals which don’t have enough money. Jiji aims to grow its pan-African consumer base and transactional volume and ”could layer on services, such as finance and payments.”
“We’ve had a lot of discussions about adding segments other than our main business. We decided that for the next three to five years, we should be laser-focused on our core business — to be the largest marketplace in Africa for buying and selling to over 400 million people,” Mnogoletniy told TechCrunch.
Genesis Technologies, co-founded by Vladimir Mnogoletniy, operates Jiji and other sites in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, and Tanzania, and the funding will help it become the most visited digital media platform in Africa behind global conglomerates Google, Twitter and Facebook.
The firm has over 2 million listings serving its over 8 million users monthly after its addition of OLX to its portfolio. The latest funding will be used by Jiji to fuel further expansion across Africa and makes the total funds raised by Jiji to $50 million.
Jiji plans to use the latest investment toward initiatives to increase the overall number of buyers, sellers, and transactions on its site. The company will also upgrade the platform to create more listings and faster matching in the area of real-estate, according to Mnogoletniy.
“With this transaction we plan to build the largest Africa-based classifieds business, creating a new experience for Africa’s fastest-developing countries and their combined population of 300 million. We firmly believe that in the next 2-3 years ours will be one of the top 10 classifieds businesses in the world by traffic,” said Vladimir Mnogoletniy, Board Director and co-founder of Jiji said on Jiji’s earlier purchase of OLX.
OLX businesses in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania were struggling and Jiji (Genesis) helped fulfill Naspers earlier plan to exit loss-making sub- Saharan Africa.
Apart from Ringier and Jumia, Jiji might face huge competition from Cars45 which has millions into its accounts for Africa’s car digital marketplaces and Opera’s OList which is live in Nigeria and aims to be expanded across Africa. If the firm finally goes into financial services and payments, there will still be OPay to take on and a plethora of several other platforms operating across Africa.
According to Frode Jacobsen, Opera’s Chief Financial Officer, “We are very pleased with our strong third quarter results. Our growth is accelerating, as we continue to execute on our strategy. We are leveraging our strong brand and large user base of more than 350 million monthly active users to grow new opportunities beyond the browser, including news and content, fintech, classifieds, and a few initiatives that we haven’t yet announced. These efforts, including the investments we’ve made in our business, led to year-over-year revenue growth of 119% in Q3, compared to 55% last quarter, and exceeding the top-end of our guidance range. This has positioned us with a strong momentum going into Q4, and as we enter 2020.”
Jiji will have to raise more and do more to take on such competition. Jiji’s parent firm Genesis also runs Genesis Investments, an investments arm which invests between $300k and $1mn for 5-30% equity stake and recently led a $1m round into an edtech startup for kids and parents. Genesis Investments might likely raise and invest more into its pan-African operations to fuel growth and keep competition at bay.