Months after the first conclusion of the seed round, Talk360a South African Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) startup, has raised an additional $3 million, bringing the total investment in the round to $7 million.
Talk360’s newest investors are Allan Gray E2 Ventures (AGEV), Kalon Venture Partners, E4E Africa, Endeavour, existing lead investor HAVAÍC and a number of angel investors including Tjaart van der Walt and Coenraad Jonker.
The company plans to use the new funding to launch a pan-African payment platform next year and increase its VoIP market share. Talk360’s payment platform will integrate “all payment options” across the continent – creating a diverse pool of localized payment options, allowing international and local businesses to easily sell to buyers living in Africa.
“The new platform will allow users across the continent to purchase products and services using any currency and over 160 payment methods. It will also be opened up to other traders,” Talk360 said in a statement.
Talk360 told londonbusinessblog.com in a previous interview that its decision to become a payment aggregator was informed by the challenges it faced in implementing digital payment options, which impacted the bottom line of its internet calling business.
Dean Hiinethe startup’s co-founder and director for Africa, told londonbusinessblog.com that existing digital payment methods are scattered in Africa and that some involve lengthy and complex processes, affecting conversion rates.
Hiine, co-founder of the startup with Hans Osnabrugge and Jorne Schamp hopes to tap into the payment platform in 2016 to enable more people across the continent to make international calls through the app. Talk360 users call for a fee, with a platform built in such a way that only the initiator needs the app and the internet – a smartphone – to make calls.
“Our mission is to bridge distances and connect lives by providing reliable, affordable and easy-to-use digital services, delivered in a localized manner to all communities, especially emerging countries, so they can connect with the world,” said Hiine .
The startup also has a network of agents, including PesaPoint in Kenya and Flash in South Africa, which allow users to purchase airtime vouchers at more than 750,000 brick-and-mortar outlets.
“But we don’t just solve socio-economic problems: we also provide micro-entrepreneurship and revenue-generating opportunities to our growing network of agents across the country.”
The company said its internet calling app has connected 2.3 million people worldwide so far this year, achieving 167% growth in customers and 130% in revenue. The app has active users in over 170 countries, including South Africa, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.
“We have invested more in Talk360 because of the strong progress it has made so far in the South African market, and because of its potential in the rest of Africa. Since our first investment, the company has shown spectacular growth and a real ability to meet the challenge of distribution in Africa. We have seen the company convert users into paying customers by offering them relevant services and making them accessible in an easy, affordable, reliable and reliable way,” said HAVAÍC managing partner, Ian Lessem.