Kenya’s tappi raises $1.5m pre-seed funding to digitise African SMEs

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Kenyan startup tappi, which helps SMEs build their online identity through a chat tool that automatically creates a webpage, has raised US$1.5 million through an oversubscribed pre-seed round of funding to help it digitise and build online trust for African SMEs.

Founded by Kenfield Griffith and Louis Majanja, tappi allows SME owners to download its app, add their “look and feel”, and promote their business through a three-step process that goes to Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Instagram Ads using airtime credit or mobile money. 

The end-to-end digital commerce SaaS solution has raised US$1.5 million in an oversubscribed pre-seed round led by Mercy Corps Ventures and Chui Ventures, with participation from Digital Currency Group, SOSV, Resilience17, growX ventures, Orbit Startups and Reflect Ventures. The investment also saw contributions from angel investors and advisors from global tech companies, including Google, Salesforce, Zendesk and the financial sector. 

Since its inception, tappi has captured verified reviews on US$3 million consumer transactions and engaged with over 150,000 consumers. With this new funding, tappi will double down on its current markets by building a solid sales force to boost direct sales, leveraging a strong 90 per cent retention rate. The startup will also forge strategic partnerships, building on its existing relationship with MTN Nigeria,  which has seen a 19 per cent month-on-month growth in business ads and business data bundle subscriptions. Further investment will also focus on talent acquisition and overall brand building.

“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 such as food services, fashion, and agriculture, and health and beauty. We are eager to empower SMEs across Africa by providing them with a trusted identity online to find customers. The current investment will support our mission to make inroads with our customers through direct sales and partnerships across the continent,” said Griffith.

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