Ivory Coast-based startup Afrikrea, the e-commerce platform for “all things made of Africa’”, has raised a US$6.2 million pre-Series A funding round and rebranded as “ANKA”.
Originally founded in 2016 as an online marketplace for selling and buying African-inspired clothing, accessories, arts and crafts, Afrikrea recorded 250 per cent year-on-year growth, but last year pivoted to become an all-in-one SaaS solution providing a seamless e-commerce service for African micro-retailers.
ANKA (meaning “Ours” in Bambara and Djoula) aims to build an infrastructure dedicated to powering e-commerce for its more than 13,000 sellers exporting literally “all things made of Africa” to a global audience. Afrikrea remains one of ANKA’s channels.
The platform enables African social commerce, exporters and dropshippers to save time, energy and money via its customised seller platform, seamless coordination of global payments and shipping for thousands of businesses in Africa and around the world. It has already achieved over US$35 million in transactions across 174 countries.
The US$6.2 million pre-Series A round, which was raised last year (2021), was led by Investisseurs & Partenaires and also includes participation from Alibaba’s executive vice chairman Joe Tsai, BESTSELLER Foundation, VestedWorld, Enigmo, Groupe Prunay and Rising Tide Africa.
They join existing investors Saviu Ventures (which is also participating in the round), LoftyInc Capital Management, Kepple Africa Ventures, Consonance Investment Managers, id4 Ventures and Thierry Petit. The additional funding brings the company’s total investment to date to US$8.1 million.
The new capital raised will be deployed to build out the mobile infrastructure of ANKA’s e-commerce SaaS, and invest in further product development. The funding will also be used to boost talent acquisition across its product, sales and finance teams, while looking to hire more remote developers.
“We have recorded unprecedented growth since the launch of ANKA last year; since then our subscribers tripled and volume on the newest services has multiplied by eight just over the last six months,” said Moulaye Taboure, CEO and co-founder of ANKA.
“As our vision and clients’ needs had outgrown the singular purpose of the Afrikrea marketplace, operating under ANKA provides a more holistic description of our mission as a pan-African company. Through the ANKA platform, which integrates every aspect of business, we now serve sellers, not just in fashion, but in what will be a variety of sectors in over 80 per cent of the African countries.”
Sebastien Boye, co-CEO of Investisseurs & Partenaires, said he was delighted to have led ANKA’s funding round.
“This company is at the heart of IPAE2’s investment strategy: a talented and ambitious African founders team, a significant growth and value creation potential and a compelling impact thesis. Indeed, ANKA aims to give micro entrepreneurs in Africa all the tools to access the potentialities of the global ecommerce market. The company has the potential to create a full entrepreneurial ecosystem, around its comprehensive platform. We are very impressed with the growth of ANKA since it launched and are confident in their ability to drive digital and financial inclusion for African entrepreneurs,” he said.