Located in Lagos and San Francisco classja has received an additional $2.1 million to complete its $4.5 million seed round. The startup, which provides multiple products for the cross-border trading space in Africa, raised this new funding from a group of international investors co-led by American Express (AMEX) Ventures, the strategic investment group of American Express.
This investment is AMEX Ventures’ first in an African startup. The company led the round with Global Ventures, the MENA-focused VC that has backed companies like Tabby, Helium Health and Paymob. “I think the fact that AMEX is now investing in the continent, especially after investing in companies like Stripe, is really powerful,” said Klasha CEO Jessica Anuna to gotechbusiness.com, adding that the arrival of Global Ventures is also noteworthy for the company.
Investors from the first seed tranche such as Greycroft, Seedcamp, Plug and Play, Berrywood Capital and Breega doubled.
Founded three years ago and launched in 2021, Klasha leverages Africa’s cross-border space in a massive e-commerce market valued at more than $25 billion. The startup is solving payment problems African merchants and consumers face when they pay for products online through various payment methods.
Klasha has a range of business and consumer-oriented products connected through a single API. KlashaCheckout allows merchants outside of Africa to collect payments from six countries on the continent – Nigeria, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa and Kenya – and be paid in G20 currencies such as dollars, pounds or euros. KlashaWire allows small merchants in these six countries to pay their suppliers in their local currency. According to the company, these suppliers receive payments in their dominant currency in three days. Payment Links allows merchants who don’t have a window to accept payments to share links with customers via email or social media.
Anuna said the company is growing 20% monthly in seller acquisitions and 17.5% in transaction volume. Klasha has processed more than 210,000 trades – 10x the number last October – from more than 1,700 traders. Klasha earns revenue through sales commissions and subscriptions that merchants pay to use the analytics platform.
Last year, Klasha’s consumer product enabled users in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya to create virtual cards, deposit funds using their respective currencies, and send and receive funds. In an interview, Anuna said the company would revamp the app to help retailers like ASOS, Zara and H&M accept payments from African consumers.
“The biggest product development is this app that allows these consumers to shop at select stores like Boohoo.com, pay with their Klasha wallet, which you can fund with multiple different African currencies and have it delivered to their door,” says Anuna.
Klasha’s core mission is to streamline cross-border trade from Africa to the rest of the world. And in turn give the rest of the world access to African consumers on the ground who want and need these goods worldwide.”
The app, called KlashaCart – which is only available in Nigeria – allows consumers to shop at various retailers using naira and have their items delivered within 7-14 days through Klasha’s logistics arm. The platform will go live in Kenya in the coming months, Anuna said. Meanwhile, the consumer base has grown to about 45,000 customers, a growth of 4x from last October.
Despite Klasha’s impressive growth, there is more room for the company to grow, said Sacha Haider, partner at Global Ventures. According to her, Klasha highlights the “significant opportunity” to deliver a better experience to the more than 500 million digital buyers expected on the continent by 2025 in an e-commerce market that covers up to 5% of Africa’s retail space.
“We look forward to seeing the company’s innovative solutions help open commerce for African consumers and enable cross-border payments,” said Matt Sueoka, global head of Amex Ventures, in a statement. “Klasha has the potential to boost spending by simplifying payments in emerging markets and enabling merchants to scale within the continent and abroad.”