We told you about it some time ago in this article, the number 1 problem of African start-ups is the lack of funding. We studied the case of the Kerawa.com platform, which succeeded in obtaining funding of up to € 200,000 in 2015 from the founders of the French site Seloger.com.
Fundraising of over US $ 1 million
uring the month of December 2016, Nino Njopkou, founder and CEO of Kerawa announced that Kerawa had just completed a new fundraising with a British fund, although the exact sum is confidential, we know that it is 7 figures, or at least 1 million US dollars (more than 610 million FCFA).
This kind of funding is rare in the landscape of African start-ups, but is indicative of the changes taking place on the continent, Africa’s enormous potential is starting to be felt globally and more and more investors. internationals are starting to follow this new direction.
But that’s not all, Kerawa has also just completed the acquisition of Leportail.ci, the No. 1 classifieds company in Côte d’Ivoire. it is rare to see a marriage between South-South companies. We have never seen an example of such a merger in French-speaking Sub-Saharan Africa.
Interview with CEO Nino Njopkou
Beyond money, do investors help you with their experience, and what are their expectations?
Let’s face it, the expectation of the investment is the highest possible ROI (Return on Investment), whoever thinks investors are doing in the social will never raise money. When we are at the stage of seed capital (first fundraising) with business angels, they expect a human adventure, they support the founders. When you are like Kerawa.com at the Serie A stage (second fundraising), VCs (investors) are more traditional, they invest and expect a ROI. Besides that, they can open certain doors when the requests are specific, but that is no longer their job.
What are your ambitions and future projects following this fundraising?
The ambition is to penetrate the West African classified ad market, and to establish itself as No. 1 in the countries of French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa.
The acquisition of Leportail.ci in Ivory Coast is a step in this direction, and other acquisitions or synergies should follow in 2017.
How will this merger with Kerawa go, knowing that Kerawa also covers Côte d’Ivoire?
We are going to deploy our synergy plan, which is already underway elsewhere. For the moment, the 2 brands will continue to co-exist before gradually becoming a single site within a 24/36 month horizon. In addition, we are currently seeing that visitors to the 2 sites are complementary, so there is no interference effect of one vis-à-vis the other.
What is your strategy to deal with competitors such as deals.jumia.ci who also have very large resources behind them?
There is no particular strategy in the face of competitors. You have seen that Cdiscount closed on its own, when there was also a lot of money at stake. No, my strategy is towards the users of the site, how to meet their needs by taking into account the constraints specific to our latitudes. The financial aspect is only one of the success factors, but it is not the only one, nor the most important in my opinion. We will be demonstrating our strengths in a few weeks time, and I am confident the market will respond positively.
And finally what advice would you give to young entrepreneurs like you who are thirsty for success?
You have to believe in your project, and not give up; the road to success is paved with failure. The real secret is to get up every time you put one knee on the ground.
The second piece of advice is to be very creative, to think outside the box, to get out of traditional methods.
Thanks to Nino Njopkou for this interview and these precious advice, his story is inspiring and we wish him even more success for the future.
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