Talk360, an app for international calls, revealed that it has received an additional $3 million in seed round funding, bringing its total seed round after its first close in May of this year to $7 million. New South African investors including Allan Gray E2 Ventures (AGEV), Kalon Venture Partners, E4E Africa, Endeavor, the current lead investor HAVAC, and angel investors in the shape of the TymeBank co-founders Tjaart van der Walt and Coenraad Jonker are also part of the most recent round of fundraising.
The startup claims that it would use the most recent funding to increase its market share in South Africa, fuel its expansion throughout the rest of the continent, and introduce its industry-first Pan-African payment platform in 2023.
Dutch businessmen Hans Osnabrugge and Jorne Schamp and South African venture capitalist Dean Hiine created the South African firm Talk360 in 2016. An intuitive calling app developed by the startup enables users to make safe, inexpensive calls to any landline or mobile phone in the world.
Users around the continent will be able to purchase goods and services using any currency and more than 160 different payment methods thanks to this new payment platform. Other retailers can also use the platform. Talk360 has expanded its connections with regional products like Kazang and Blu voucher, launched six new currencies, offered African-specific payment methods including OTT vouchers, and added six new currencies this year alone.
In the previous year, the company reported a 167% increase in clients and a 130% increase in sales. A “substantially upgraded” distribution network, according to the company, has also contributed to a roughly doubling of the amount of calling minutes to and from South Africa. Dean Hiine added that as the company aims to rapidly expand the business, its headcount has doubled this year.
“Our mission is to bridge distance and connect lives by offering reliable, affordable, and easy-to-use digital services, delivered in a localised manner to all communities, particularly emerging countries, so they can connect to the world. But we’re not just solving socio-economic issues: we’re also offering micro-entrepreneurship and income generating opportunities to our growing network of agents across the country.”
The success of Talk360 in South Africa is largely due to the agent model, which pays agents for every client they suggest. Over the past year, the company has witnessed a 33% increase in agents, bringing in over 800% more consumers as it aims to expand its reach, foster micro-entrepreneurship, and provide income possibilities and jobs to underserved regions.
Operating in The Netherlands, South Africa, and India, the startup will use this seed funding to keep growing, accelerating its mission to bridge distances and bolster communities through creating jobs and connectivity.
The Talk360 team has “a plethora of experience” in the communications industry in South Africa and across the continent, according to Clive Butkow, CEO of Kalon. Butkow noted that Kalon were thrilled to include the venture in the Kalon portfolio and think it has the potential to grow quickly throughout Africa.
Ian Lessem, managing partner at HAVAÍC, said the fact the initial seed round target was oversubscribed is a testament to Talk360’s remarkable traction to date and growth potential.
“We invested more into Talk360 based on its strong progress in the South African market to date, as well as its potential in the rest of Africa. Since our first investment, the company has shown spectacular growth, and a genuine ability to crack the challenge of distribution in Africa. We’ve seen the company convert users to paying customers by offering them relevant services, and making this accessible in an easy, affordable, reliable and trustworthy way,” said Lessem.
Tjaart van der Walt said the Tyme founders were investing because Talk360 enables potentially millions of people in remote areas to make and receive calls more affordably. “We see this need for many years to come. We believe in the Talk360 team: they are passionate and purposeful, and can execute,” he said.