Alongside a diverse group of investors, BESTSELLER Foundation participates in e-commerce investment that will unlock opportunities for small retailers across Africa.
Afrikrea, the e-commerce platform for “all things made of Africa”, completed a USD 6.2M pre-Series A round that will be followed by a rebrand to “ANKA”, the company’s all-in-one e-commerce platform. Investing in ANKA is an opportunity to support a growing number of microentrepreneurs across Africa, giving them access to a global market. This includes waste to value entrepreneurs such as Uzzuri K&Y, which makes shoes from used tires in Rwanda.
Originally founded as an online marketplace for African-inspired clothing, Afrikrea serves more than 10,000 sellers from 47 out of 54 African countries and has completed over USD35M in transactions in 174 countries worldwide. More than 80% of the sellers are women who have grown their revenue by 50% on average since joining the community. The platform currently has more than 700,000 visits a month with most customers located in Europe and North America.
To better support its sellers and the rapid scaling of the business, ANKA, (meaning “Ours” in Bambara and Djoula), was launched in 2021 as the first of its kind, all-in-one SaaS solution to provide a seamless e-commerce service for African micro-retailers. ANKA operates as an inclusive marketplace allowing retailers to:
- Sell via a customised online storefront (like Shopify), linked to sellers’ social media platforms and marketplace channels (such as PayPal)
- Ship globally with verified best rates via leading logistics partner DHL
- Receive payments internationally in all currencies, including a free Buy Now Pay Later option, and the ability to withdraw funds through local African payment methods like mobile money
- Manage the lifecycle of all transactions with a single omni-channel dashboard.
It’s hard to articulate the potential impact of ANKA better than Co-founder and CEO, Moulaye Tabouré; … “instead of trying to get Africans to buy more or spend faster, ANKA will … help them earn, own and create, at a global scale. Growth, … and “financial inclusion” are empty words without value creation, distribution, and worldwide scale. Most of Africa’s development problems will not be solved by just better efficiencies in moving cash or buying goods or services from outside. We need to produce, sell and build for us and the world…”
Although ANKA creates market access and opportunities for circular and waste to value fashion companies, it’s arguably not an obvious investment candidate due to the Foundation’s focus on the circular economy. However, during 2022, the Foundation will increasingly work to connect the dots between the circular economy and textile / fashion on the African continent, thus (also) unlocking opportunities to deepen the partnership with BESTSELLER colleagues.
‘The Foundation has a growing portfolio of waste to value textile and fashion companies, for whom ANKA creates groundbreaking infrastructure. With ANKA, and our growing portfolio of SMEs, we look forward to contributing to a sustainable textile and fashion industry on the continent ’ Tine Fisker Henriksen, BESTSELLER Foundation.