ImpactAlpha, January 13 – Abidjan-based ANKA is trying to help Africa’s retailers reach more customers. The company launched in 2016 as Afrikrea, an online marketplace for African clothing, accessories and crafts.
U.S.-based impact investor VestedWorld backed the company’s $6.2 million funding round alongside other investors to enable ANKA to offer retailers online storefronts, international shipping, digital payment integration, buy-now pay-later financing, and sales management tools.
Investisseurs & Partenaires, an impact fund focused on francophone Africa, led the round.
Business-to-consumer e-commerce in Africa has struggled to gain traction because of low Internet penetration and infrastructure and logistics challenges. ANKA says it has supported $35 million in sales by connecting African businesses to international buyers.
“Instead of trying to get Africans to buy more or spend faster, ANKA will be one the few companies that actually help them earn, own and create, at a global scale,” said founder Moulaye Taboure. “Growth, velocity, volume and ‘financial inclusion’ are all empty words without value creation, distribution and worldwide scale.”
VestedWorld, which launched in 2014, is raising a third fund with a target of $35 million, according to an SEC filing.
The Chicago-based firm has backed 15 other African startups through its first two funds. Recent investments include Nigeria and Kenya-based fintech BFree, which is trying to forestall a consumer debt crisis in Africa (for background, see, “Investors called to account for fintech lending practices as debt-traps emerge“); Nigerian B2B e-commerce venture Sabi; and Ghana-based biotech company Yemaachi.