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American Express makes first African investment in female-led Klasha’s $2.1M seed funding

Klasha-CEO-Jess-Anuna
Image credits: Klasha

Klasha, the startup providing cross-border commerce solutions for Africans has just announced closing its seed funding round with a $2.1M raise from American Express Ventures, American Express’s strategic investment group. This investment in the female-led tech startup hallmarks Amex’s first investment in an African startup and was made alongside the top MEA region VC Global Ventures.

The startup’s seed funding is now complete with $4.5M raised since its commencement. Other investors that participated in the round include Seedcamp, Plug and Play, Greycroft, Berrywood Capital and Breega. Assisted by its funding, Klasha expects to expand into five more African countries this year as well as re-launch its consumer app. Newly renamed to KlashaCart, the app will allow African consumers to shop from eligible international merchants online.

Klasha and its suite of products

“African consumers want the same thing as consumers everywhere else – access to quality products, at a good price, through a seamless shopping experience,” says Sacha Haider, Partner at Global Ventures in agreement with Klasha’s mission. The San-Fransisco and Lagos-based tech startup was founded in 2021 with the mission to make consumer goods and services sold online more accessible to consumers across the vast African continent. Its suite of products tackles cross-border commerce problems for African consumers and international businesses wanting to sell in Africa.

Klasha enables African consumers to pay international online merchants in African currencies via locally available means at checkout. It then provides shipping related services as goods make their way to the continent. Merchants receive payouts in G20 currencies, thus empowering their expansion efforts into Africa as they’re offered requisite payment tools. The KlashaCheckout allows African consumers to transact online across borders in local African currencies. It is then supported by an entire toolkit of software products including KlashaWire, KlashaCargo, Payment Links and the Klasha App.

Founded in 2021 by Jess Anuna alongside her team combining experience at Amazon, Mastercard, PayPal, Shopify and Net-a-Porter, Klasha’s growth has been inevitably rapid. In under a year, the startup has signed up over 1,700 merchants, processing over 210,000 transactions and experiencing 15% MoM merchant growth. Klasha’s success is serving as a window into the market opportunity and readiness of Africans in developing economies to enjoy seamless cross-border transactions experienced internationally.

Matt Sueoka, the Global Head of Amex Ventures understands the startup’s offering & growth prospects, highlighting, “Klasha has the potential to drive spending by making payments simpler in emerging markets and allows merchants to scale within the continent and abroad.”

Klasha is currently live in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa and Zambia. Africa is a vast opportunity for rapidly scaling commerce, with over 400M internet users and a bustling e-commerce market that’s expected to reach $29B this year.

“Given the fragmented cross-border commerce infrastructure on the continent, it is imperative for customers in Africa to access the global e-commerce economy seamlessly and without friction. Our latest funding will allow more businesses to seamlessly tap into the African market through our API, while simultaneously giving African consumers the same access to the global e-commerce economy as experienced internationally,” sighted Jess Anuna, Klasha’s Founder & CEO.

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