Klasha, a cross-border African commerce platform provider based in San Francisco and Lagos, Nigeria, said it has raised an additional $2 million toward a total seed fund round worth $4.5 million. The funding round included American Express Ventures, which is the investment arm of American Express. This is the first investment of American Express Ventures in an African-focused start-up.
The round also included funding from Global Ventures, which is a VC firm focused on Africa and the Middle East. The other investors included Greycroft, Seedcamp, Plug and Play, Berrywood Capital and Breega.
Klasha was launched in May 2021 “by a team with combined experience at Amazon, PayPal, Mastercard, Shopify and Net-a-porter,” the company said, noting that over the past year, it signed up more than 1,700 merchants who processed more than 210,000 transactions.
Klasha said it will use the proceeds to expand into five more African countries this year as well as relaunch its consumer app, which was renamed KlashaCart. The app allows consumers to shop from participating international merchants online. “Klasha’s core checkout technology benefits consumers and merchants,” the company said in a statement. “It allows African consumers to pay international online merchants in African currencies and money methods at checkout and then have their goods shipped to the continent.”
The company said merchants receive payouts in G20 currencies, “and are empowered to expand into Africa by equipping them with the requisite payment tools.” Klasha said the latest funding reinforces its “commitment to improving commerce for Africans and simplifying cross-border payments so that businesses can expand into a market full of energized consumers.”
For brands and merchants, the continent of Africa offers a ripe opportunity to expand. The company has more than 400 million internet users and e-commerce sales are expected to reach $29 billion. “However, the ability to pay online with African currencies and money methods, including cards, M-Pesa, bank transfers and mobile money, is challenging for African consumers,” the company said, adding that it “believes they should have the technology to facilitate the same frictionless access to goods regardless of geographic location.”
Jess Anuna, founder and chief executive officer of Klasha, said given the “fragmented cross-border commerce infrastructure on the continent, it is imperative for customers in Africa to access the global e-commerce economy seamlessly and without friction.”
“Our latest funding will allow more businesses to seamlessly tap into the African market through our API, while simultaneously giving African consumers the same access to the global e-commerce economy as experienced internationally,” Anuna said.