Nigerian startup Klasha lands an additional $2.1 million for its cross-border trading game

Klasha, based in Lagos and San Francisco, received an additional $2.1 million to complete its seed round of $4.5 million. The startup, which offers multiple products for cross-border trade in Africa, obtained this new financing from a group of international investors co-led by American Express (AMEX) Ventures, the strategic investment group of American Express. This investment is AMEX Ventures’ first in an African startup. The firm co-led the round with Global Ventures, the MENA-focused VC that has backed the likes of Tabby, Helium Health and Paymob. “I think the fact that AMEX is now investing in the continent, especially after investing in companies like Stripe, is really powerful,” Klasha CEO Jessica Anuna told TechCrunch, adding that the addition of Global Ventures it is also notable for the company. Investors from its initial first tranche, such as Greycroft, Seedcamp, Plug and Play, Berrywood Capital and Breega, doubled down. Founded three years ago and launched in 2021, Klasha is tapping into Africa’s cross-border space in a vast e-commerce market worth more than $25 billion. The startup is solving the payment problems faced by African merchants and consumers when paying for products online through different payment methods. Klasha has a suite of products for businesses and consumers connected through an API. KlashaCheckout allows merchants outside of Africa to collect payments from six countries on the continent (Nigeria, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa and Kenya) and receive payments in G20 currencies such as dollars, pounds or euros. KlashaWire allows small merchants in these six countries to pay their suppliers in their local currencies. According to the company, these providers receive payments in their dominant currency within three days. With payment links, merchants who don’t have storefronts to accept payments can share links with customers via email or social media. Anuna said the company is growing 20% ​​per month in business acquisitions and 17.5% in transaction volume. Klasha has processed more than 210,000 transactions, 10 times the figure for last October, from more than 1,700 merchants. Klasha earns revenue through sales commissions and subscriptions that merchants pay to use the platform for analytics.Image credits: Klasha Last year, Klasha’s consumer product enabled users in Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya to create virtual cards, fund with their respective currencies, and send and receive money. In an interview, Anuna said the company would revamp the app to help retailers like ASOS, Zara and H&M accept payments from African consumers. “The biggest development of the product is this app that allows these consumers to shop at select stores like, pay with their Klasha wallet, which you can fund with multiple different African currencies, and have it delivered to their doorstep,” Anuna said. “Klasha’s main mission is to optimize cross-border trade from Africa to the rest of the world. And, in turn, giving the rest of the world access to African consumers who want and need these products globally.” The app, dubbed KlashaCart, which is only available in Nigeria, will allow consumers to shop at different retailers using naira and receive their items within 7 to 14 days through Klasha’s logistics arm. The platform will launch in Kenya in the coming months, Anuna said. Meanwhile, its consumer base has grown to around 45,000 customers, a 4x growth since last October. Despite Klasha’s impressive growth, there is more room for the company to grow, said Sacha Haider, a partner at Global Ventures. According to her, Klasha highlights the “significant opportunity” to provide a better experience to the more than 500 million digital shoppers expected on the continent by 2025 in an e-commerce market that represents up to 5% of Africa’s retail space. “We look forward to seeing the company’s innovative solutions help open up trade for African consumers and facilitate cross-border payments,” Matt Sueoka, global head of Amex Ventures, said in a statement. “Klasha has the potential to drive spending by simplifying payments in emerging markets and enabling merchants to scale within the continent and abroad.”


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