Funding

tappi Raises $1.5M to digitize and build online trust for African SMEs

tappi, an end-to-end digital commerce SaaS solution tailored for small and medium-sized businesses, has raised $1.5M in an oversubscribed Pre-Seed round led by Mercy Corps Ventures and Chui Ventures. With participation from Digital Currency Group, SOSV, Resilience17, growX ventures, Orbit Startups and Reflect Ventures, the investment also saw contributions from angel investors and advisors from global tech companies, including Google, Salesforce, Zendesk and the financial sector. The early-stage funding will further tappi’s mission to empower SMEs to gain visibility and build trust in the digital commerce ecosystem as the company broadens its footprint across Africa.

Founded in 2022 by Kenfield Griffith and Louis Majanja, tappi is digitizing Africa’s $20bn SME market through software sophistication. Offering SaaS and enterprise-grade tools to SMEs in Africa starting as low as $2/month, tappi integrates and partners with some of Africa’s largest mobile network operators and financial institutions, extending its addressable market to over 100M SMEs. tappi embeds AI in its operations in Kenya and Nigeria, facilitating a seamless online business profile creation process through an intuitive chat experience. Payments, Messaging, and AI  are all pivotal to the company’s end-to-end digital commerce stack, which aims to be the SEO backbone to increase revenue for SMEs across the continent. This is achieved by helping businesses gain visibility, consolidating payments with verified reviews to build online trust, and paying for online Ads with mobile airtime. Since its inception, tappi has captured verified reviews on $3M consumer transactions and engaged with over 150K consumers.

With this new funding, tappi will double down on its current markets by building a solid sales force to boost direct sales, leveraging a strong 90% retention rate. tappi will also forge strategic partnerships, building on its existing relationship with MTN Nigeria,  which has seen a 19% MoM growth in business ads and business data bundle subscriptions. Further investment will also focus on talent acquisition and overall brand building.

Speaking on the round, Kenfield Griffith, tappi CEO and co-founder said, “We are grateful to be supported by great investors who share our vision and the mission to address the untapped potential within Africa’s informal SME markets, particularly in overlooked service industries such as food services, fashion, and agriculture, and health and beauty. We are eager to empower SMEs across Africa by providing them with a trusted identity online to find customers. The current investment will support our mission to make inroads with our customers through direct sales and partnerships across the continent.”

“There are ~44 million (M)SMEs in Africa, driving ~60% employment and ~38% of GDP on the continent. Yet, these businesses, ~60%+ women-led, remain the most underserved and vulnerable to shocks, especially those accelerated by climate change. While some may have access to mobile wallets, payment platforms, and online tools, few have a holistic package that offers them the ability to establish a verified digital presence, create a performance record, track income, and leverage these to increase incomes and resilience. Our investment reaffirms Mercy Corps Ventures’ belief in tappi, and is very much in line with our purpose of inclusivity and developing financial resilience amongst SMEs in Africa,” added Hetal Patel, Director of Investments at Mercy Corps Ventures.

In a recent 2023 Africa MSME Pulse Survey, 62% of respondents [majority from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa] reported an increased reliance on technology and online tools. Additionally, over 25% plan to invest in e-commerce and website development, highlighting the significant opportunity in the digital commerce ecosystem. tappi is well-positioned to meet this growing demand as it fosters trust and drives economic growth across Africa.

Lynda Saint-Nwafor, Chief Enterprise Business Officer, MTN Nigeria, said, “At MTN, we’re committed to fueling the growth of over 40 million MSMEs in our markets through tech-driven solutions. Partnering with tappi, we’ve launched MTN Thryve, empowering SMEs to connect with current customers and find new customers via Facebook and Instagram Ads using MTN data bundles and airtime. tappi’s technology aligns with our vision, and we’re excited to be part of SME success stories in our markets.”

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