South African provider of hybrid sales platform to micro and small businesses, Qwili, has announced it raised $1.2 million in seed funding. This coming one year after finishing an unidentified pre-seed round.
The venture capital firm E4E Africa in South Africa served as the lead investor. Other participants in the round included Strat-Tech, Next Chymia, Untapped Global, Codec Ventures, and angel investors Ashwin Ravichandran and Kanyi Maqubela.
Qwili was established in 2019 and offers micro and small merchants in South Africa a hybrid sales product. Thandwefika Radebe, Tapfuma Masunzambwa, and CEO Luyolo Sijake lauched the startup together. Qwili claimed in the announcement that it would put the money toward improving hardware production and updating its software.
As he described his products, Loyola stated its service was about enabling folks who are currently digitally excluded, to participate in the numerous forms of value that being digitally included has to offer.
“We’re all about enabling people who are currently digitally excluded, to participate in the various forms of value that being digitally included has to offer,” Loyola said.
Sijake and his co-founders Thandwefika Radebe and Tapfuma Masunzambwa initially presented the firm as an alternate idea.
They employed a business-to-customer strategy, with Qwili selling these devices to particular customers who subsequently made purchases using the platform’s digital wallet.
How Qwili Operates
A significant portion of the African market either lacks access to digital goods and services or must spend a significant amount of time and money in order to obtain them and pay for them. This is due to the low prevalence of smartphones and digital payments, and as result, end users being unable to acquire digital goods and services, businesses being unable to access a sizable portion of the market, and retailers.
To address this, Qwili has developed a hybrid hardware-software product consisting of a smartphone and a digital sales ecosystem. The high-quality and affordable digital product from Qwili was developed to improve user access to dependable cellphones and mobile internet throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, including POS agents using these devices.
Through its platform, Qwili has created an operating system for its gadgets and cellphones that aren’t Qwili. In order to increase their income, Qwili’s agents utilize this sales site to provide market value-added services like airtime, electricity, and pay TV subscriptions and earn commissions. End users can use this sales portal to access products that would otherwise be out of their price range or inaccessible to them.
In addition to stating that it already handles $75,000 in GMV per month from its 500 merchants, Qwili plans to expand operations into Botswana. From the first to the second quarter of 2022, it had a high turnover growth of over 300 percent, and by the end of the year, it hopes to boost this number by $1 million from 3,000 merchants.