Ethiopia’s Viable Solutions Raises $200k Pre-seed Fund
The round was led by Ahmed Al Alola, a Middle Eastern angel investor. Amadou Daffe, Co-Founder and CEO of Gebeya, a Pan-African talent marketplace, is one of the other angel investors who also participated in the round.
EPhone, which was launched in 2019. Through its super dialer app, the startup combines advanced dialing with smart SMS capabilities, and automates Teleco’s USSD services, allowing users to check/recharge their prepaid balance, purchase and send packages, as well as allowing them to issue call me back requests with a single click.
It currently allows users to use Ethio Telecom’s USSD services without having to go through the USSD process and has been able to surpass 150K users after 21 months of operation.
EPhone makes a profit via commission from services offered in the app, such as airtime sales and other third-party services that will be added in the future and from advertisements.
Through EPhone’s EPhone Bills, corporations and organizations top-up airtime remotely to their employees, which was the startup’s first B2B offering. The revenue from this business, as well as in-app airtime purchases, helped to cover the company’s operating costs and keep the founders employed.
CEO of EPhone Nohe Fekade speaking on the funding said: “Fundraising is the most distracting task from growing a company, especially for a small team like ours. We feel very grateful and responsible for our investors who believed in us and our vision. After months of hard work, checking off fundraising from our to-do list allows us to focus on building our product and understand our users better.
“Our vision is building a modern and relevant Dialer & SMS app specifically tailored for the African market, enabling users to hasten USSD codes and access integrated third-party services at one convenient place”.
Ahmed Al Alola, the lead investor in the round speaking said that EPhone is in a better position to serve Africa’s young population given their competent and passionate team.
“You rarely find a passionate, competent, and complementary team who share a very deep understanding of their customers and execute on a common vision that addresses a very big market.
“Many African countries are going through political & social stability leading to economic reform. With the advantage of having a young population, high mobile, and smartphone penetration, EPhone is positioned to serve that massive market with its innovative dialer app and its convenient value-added services. I believe the great founding team is capable of delivering on that vision.
“This is my first Ethiopian investment. Even though Ethiopia isn’t the hottest startup hub in Africa, it has a population of youth hungry for change and technology adoption” Ahmed said.