Gebeya Inc., a SaaS-enabled Talent Marketplace headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with offices in Kenya and Senegal has announced a Pre-Series A Equity Investment from Inclusion Japan (ICJ). The Tokyo-based firm which provides VC funding for startups.
The undisclosed strategic investment will be used to expand Gebeya from a single two-sided tech talent marketplace to a provisioner of marketplaces under a Marketplace-As-A-Service model.
“ICJ has so far invested in two African-based startups, both in Ethiopia. Dodai, an e-mobility technology startup, is run by my fellow CEO Yuma whose vision and commitment on Africa have made ICJ consider the second investment into Gebeya. ICJ investment is quite strategic in building a strong bridge between Japan and Ethiopia regarding investment, knowledge transfer, and business development.” said Amadou Daffe, Gebeya’s CEO & Co-founder. “Gebeya has always thrived off of strong partnerships with like-minded firms who recognize Africa’s potential and that pooling resources is critical to achieve impact at scale.
Through its six years of operation, Gebeya has been dedicated to building Africa’s tech talent ecosystem through a combination of upskilling and job-creation opportunities for hundreds of working tech professionals while also supporting entrepreneurs looking to launch their own innovations.
ICJ’s vision is for a high-touch, collaborative co-creation of the future, where individuals and society work in harmony to address pressing problems. Their other portfolio companies include forward-thinking startups in green energy, finance, food, and transportation, including ispace Inc., a Japanese startup that launched a commercial spacecraft to the moon last December, setting a record. Zeroboard, another ICJ portfolio company, is dedicated to decarbonization.
To date, ICJ has invested in 16 startups under their ICJ No. 2 Fund. The undisclosed investment is the fund’s first in Africa’s talent marketplace space. Start-ups in Africa raised nearly $5 billion last year, breaking the 2021 record of $4.6 billion, in the face of a global funding downturn, according to Africa: The Big Deal.
“We are delighted to be investing in Gebeya,” said Yasuhiro Yoshizawa, Director, and Co-Founder at ICJ.” As a fund manager with a $100 million investment budget that will focus on the Africa region, I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to invest in Gebeya, which has the greatest potential in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
“We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with ICJ and are confident that this investment will help us to take our company to new heights,” said Daffe. “We are excited to see what the future holds and are committed to delivering the best possible products and services to our customers.”
Gebeya has already raised a total of $4M in SEED funding from Partech Ventures, Orange Ventures, and Consonance since 2020. This strategic Pre-Series A equity investment from ICJ will allow Gebeya further to strengthen its product offering, especially the Marketplace-As-A-Service one, but also beef up its sales team and processes to better serve its target markets both for its supply and demand sides.
Gebeya’s collaboration with ICJ extends its ongoing focus on developing Africa’s Freelance Economy ecosystem and making the continent globally competitive through its supply of working professionals. The partnership will also further each company’s market position and value proposition. Gebeya has a long working history of empowering talents and entrepreneurs, while ICJ’s deep expertise with startups perfectly positions it to usher Gebeya into its new growth phase.