Mercy Corp Ventures backs Tappi to boost economic and climate resilience in Africa’s small businesses

Guest Author

Lucy Ngige

ImpactAlpha, December 11 – Flooding and droughts, which disrupt logistics, damage stock, depress consumer spending and raise the cost of goods, affect nearly all informal and small businesses in Africa’s biggest markets, according to Mercy Corp Ventures. It can take up to a year for a small business owner to recover. 

Mercy Corp Ventures is backing Nairobi-based digital services company Tappi to foster small business economic and climate resilience.

“Digitization of small businesses [is] key to building a more resilient network of small businesses across emerging markets,” Mercy Corp Ventures’ Dan Block told ImpactAlpha.

The impact investing firm invested in Tappi’s $1.5 million pre-seed round alongside Chui Ventures, SOSV and other investors. 

Digitalization for resilience

A wave of African startups emerged during the pandemic to bring Africa’s mostly-offline retailers into the digital age. The evolving data ecosystem “could address barriers to deliver a variety of services including financing, climate financing, insurance, etc., to businesses and their employees,” said Mercy Corp Ventures’ Hetal Patel. 

Tappi offers a broad range of services, including customized websites, payment processing, customer messaging, and social media promotion – all available via smartphone and feature phone.

“Tappi is not simply selling digitization solutions business-to-customer with the potential for access to financial services,” Mercy Corp Ventures wrote. “Tappi is a frictionless way of creating a digital identity.”