With the help of Mercy Corps Ventures and Chui Ventures, tappi, an end-to-end digital commerce SaaS solution designed for small and medium-sized enterprises, has successfully funded $1.5 million in an oversubscribed Pre-Seed round. Angel investors and advisors from global internet giants, such as Google, Salesforce, Zendesk, and the financial sector, contributed to the investment alongside involvement from Digital Currency Group, SOSV, Resilience17, growX ventures, Orbit Startups, and Reflect Ventures. As the business expands throughout Africa, the early-stage capital will help tappi fulfill its objective of enabling SMEs to become more visible and establish credibility in the digital commerce environment.
Using sophisticated software, tappi, founded in 2022 by Kenfield Griffith and Louis Majanja, is modernizing Africa’s $20 billion SME sector. With SaaS and enterprise-grade solutions available to African SMEs for as little as $2 per month, Tappi expands its potential market to over 100 million SMEs by integrating and partnering with some of the continent’s biggest financial institutions and mobile network providers. Through an easy-to-use chat interface, tappi incorporates AI into its operations in Kenya and Nigeria, enabling a smooth online company profile building procedure.
The company’s end-to-end digital commerce stack, which strives to be the SEO backbone to improve income for SMEs throughout the continent, depends heavily on messaging, payments, and artificial intelligence. This is accomplished through assisting companies in becoming more visible, combining payments with vetted evaluations to foster trust on the internet, and funding online advertisements using mobile data. Since its launch, tappi has interacted with over 150K customers and gathered verified ratings on $3 million worth of transactions.
With this additional capital, Tappi plans to expand into its present markets even more by utilizing a robust 90% retention rate and developing a strong sales team to increase direct sales. Along with forming strategic alliances, Tappi will strengthen its ties with MTN Nigeria, which has shown a 19% MoM increase in business ad and business data bundle subscriptions. Additional funding will also go toward developing talent and enhancing the brand as a whole.
“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 like food services, fashion, agriculture, and health and beauty,” said Kenfield Griffith, CEO and co-founder of Tappi, during his round of remarks. We are excited to give African SMEs a reliable internet identity so they may attract clients. Our goal is to establish direct sales and relationships around the continent to gain traction with our clients, and the current investment will help us achieve this goal.
Africa’s ~44 million (M)SMEs account for ~60% of the continent’s employment and ~38% of its GDP. Nevertheless, these companies—which are run by more than 60% of women—remain the most marginalized and susceptible to shocks, particularly those brought on by climate change. Few people possess a comprehensive package that enables them to produce a performance record, track revenue, establish a verified digital presence, and use these resources to boost incomes and resilience, even though some people may have access to mobile wallets, payment systems, and online tools. The Mercy Corps Ventures Director of Investments, Hetal Patel, continued, “Our investment reaffirms our belief in tappi and is very much in line with our purpose of inclusivity and developing financial resilience among SMEs in Africa.”
A recent study, the 2023 Africa MSME Pulse Survey, found that 62% of participants—the bulk of whom were from South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria—reported using technology and internet resources more frequently. Furthermore, more than 25% intend to spend money on website development and e-commerce, underscoring the enormous potential in the digital commerce ecosystem. Because tappi promotes trust and stimulates economic growth throughout Africa, it is ideally positioned to address this increasing demand.
Chief Enterprise Business Officer of MTN Nigeria, Lynda Saint-Nwafor, stated: “At MTN, we’re committed to using tech-driven solutions to fuel the growth of over 40 million MSMEs in our markets.” We’ve introduced MTN Thryve in collaboration with tappi, enabling SMEs to use MTN data bundles and airtime to reach out to existing clients and attract new ones through Facebook and Instagram ads. Our goals are in line with tappi’s technology, and we are thrilled to contribute to the success stories of SMEs in our markets.