Ivorian SaaS e-commerce platform ANKA has successfully raised $5 million in an extension round led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The pre-Series A round, which includes a mix of equity and debt, brings the total investment secured by ANKA to $13.5 million since its establishment seven years ago. This funding will be used to bolster product development and expand services, particularly in ANKA’s key markets: Nigeria, Kenya, and the United States.
Ivorian SaaS e-commerce platform ANKA has raised $5 million in an extension round led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC). With this funding, ANKA plans to strengthen product development, expand its services, and onboard 100,000 African sellers by 2030. The platform’s transition from a marketplace to an all-in-one SaaS platform aims to consolidate merchants’ focus and provide a comprehensive solution for global African businesses.
A Rebranding for a Consolidated Approach
Formerly known as Afrikrea, ANKA underwent a rebranding process as it transitioned from being a marketplace for African-inspired clothing, accessories, arts, and crafts to an all-in-one SaaS platform for global African businesses. This shift was motivated by the need to streamline merchants’ focus onto a single platform, rather than multiple channels such as websites and social media. ANKA aims to serve three types of users: exporters seeking global shipping solutions, online merchants looking to consolidate their orders, and drop shippers who want to create jobs and produce goods in Africa while receiving global payment.
Fueling Growth with Strategic Partnerships
ANKA’s platform was launched in partnership with Visa and DHL, providing comprehensive solutions for e-commerce, payments, and international shipping. The platform includes an online storefront and an omnichannel interface for vendors to monitor sales and inventory across Africa, social media sites, and websites. ANKA Pay facilitates local payment methods, such as mobile money, bank transfers, and Visa cards, while DHL enables affordable and efficient international shipping from Africa to other countries within 72 hours for less than $30.
Impressive Expansion and Financial Performance
ANKA’s user base and revenue have experienced significant growth since its last funding round. The platform recorded over 700,000 monthly visits and processed $35 million in transactions in 2021. Recently, ANKA reported a surge in user visits to over a million and an increase in transactions to $50 million across 175 countries. As a result, ANKA’s turnover skyrocketed from €200,000 to €3.6 million, marking an 18-fold increase.
Capitalizing on User Demographics
ANKA’s user demographics reflect popular e-commerce trends. With 80% of its 20,000+ vendors being women, Nigeria and Kenya serve as the main hubs for ANKA’s sellers. On the buyer side, the United States, home to a large African diaspora, accounts for a significant portion of ANKA’s 350,000+ buyers. France closely follows the U.S. in terms of buyer activity on the platform. ANKA aims to tap into the potential for growth in these countries, particularly in selling and promoting Africa’s creative economy globally.
Overcoming Challenges and Future Expansion
ANKA has faced typical challenges encountered by e-commerce platforms, including currency devaluations and high inflation in sub-Saharan African markets. Despite these obstacles, ANKA has managed to adapt its efforts and continue supporting users in selling their products globally. In the coming years, ANKA envisions onboarding 100,000 African sellers by 2030. The funding from IFC, along with the debt component, will boost its expansion plans and further enhance activities such as shipping and payment float.