Klasha, a San Francisco based cross-border technology company, has raised $2.4 million in seed funding to help international B2B and B2C businesses such as ASOS, Zara, Amazon or Zoom to receive payments seamlessly online in African currencies from consumers across Africa.
Klasha allows African consumers to pay international online and offline retailers in African currencies while the retailers receive payouts in their dominant currencies, including USD, GBP, EUR.
The investment round was led by Greycroft with participation from Seedcamp, Berrywood Capital, AVG Basecamp Fund, Practical VC, Plug and Play, First Fund, Expert Dojo, 2.12 Angels, MiLA Capital and angels, including Joe Cross, Ex-Marketing Head at Wise (formerly TransferWise), Santosh Ankola, Ex-Head of Product at TechCrunch and Michael Pennington, Co-founder of Gumtree.
According to 29-year-old Jess Anuna, Founder and CEO of Klasha: “By 2025, half of the world’s population will live in Africa. At Klasha, we’re building the technology to facilitate frictionless cross-border payments and allow international businesses to scale seamlessly into Africa through our API. Equally, we’re giving consumers in Africa the same access to the global e-commerce economy experienced on other continents. It is imperative that African consumers are able to remain globally competitive, which includes having access to the goods they want without payment or delivery restrictions.”
Present in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, Klasha will use the funds to drive more revenue, grow its current 10,000 customer base, and expand into new markets with three more African countries set to go live by Q4 this year.
In the past few months, Klasha has already processed more than 20,000 transactions across Africa with an average 366% MoM growth rate. The firm has built plugin integrations for WooCommerce, OpenCart and BigCommerce. Its integration library is rapidly growing to accommodate even more platforms, including Wix, Ecwid, Magneto and Commerce Cloud.
With an official partnership with BigCommerce, the Klasha Checkout aims to enable thousands of e-commerce stores globally to receive payments online from Africa in local currencies via card, bank account, USSD, M-Pesa, Mobile Money. The merchant receives the equivalent in their chosen currency. The platform can be used on any e-commerce platform, website or app.
Alison Lange Engel, Partner at Greycroft, said: ”Klasha’s technology allows for seamless cross-border transactions at a time when Africa is rapidly growing and needs both payment and logistics solutions for online commerce. We’re excited to support Klasha and their mission in simplifying borderless payments for commerce in Africa.”
Africa presents vast opportunities for scaling quickly in commerce. There are more than 400 million internet users in Africa, and the total value of e-commerce is expected to reach $29 billion by 2022. Still, the ability to pay online with African money methods including cards, M-Pesa, bank transfer and mobile money is challenging for consumers on the ground. Klasha believes that consumers in Africa should have built technology to facilitate the same frictionless access to the goods they want regardless of their geographic location.
Other products inlude the Klasha Payment Links, a no-code option to accept payments for B2B and B2C merchants or independent sellers that do not have an e-commerce storefront and the Klasha mobile app which allows users to make local and international payments online in their local African currencies.
The app allows users can to send and receive money from family and friends in Nigeria, Ghana or Kenya into their app or virtual card, funded in NGN, KES or GHC currencies. The KlashaWire allows businesses to pay their suppliers overseas in their preferred African currency, whether Naira, Cedis or other currencies. The suppliers, on the other end, receive the money in the dominant currency of their choice.
Oloyede Oladimeji, CTO of Klasha, said: “We have built a secure and reliable commerce solution from scratch using modern technologies. As a business, it is important that we not only build but move fast. Every day, we are scaling our solution to solving a unique problem, connecting Africa to global merchants. Africa is a growing economy with huge potential but low card payment penetration, and we are enabling consumers in Africa to access products irrespective of their payment methods. Our multi-currency technology saves merchants the stress of dealing with all the different currencies available in Africa, allowing them to receive payouts in their dominant currency. What is amazing is not what we have built already but what we are going to build.”
Klasha is Seedcamp’s first investment in Africa and the investment will see Klasha remain committed to simplifying cross-border payments for commerce in Africa and empowering businesses with the tools they need to grow and expand into a market full of energized consumers.
‘’As Africa continues to undergo digitisation, there’s an increasing opportunity for online businesses in Europe and US to garner market share quickly by accepting payments online in African currencies due to the nascent stage of commerce on the continent,” concluded Reshma Sohoni, Founding Partner at Seedcamp.