Kenya’s Ajua acquires WayaWaya to consolidate shopper expertise play in African SMEs – TechCrunch

Kenya’s Ajua acquires WayaWaya to consolidate consumer experience play in African SMEs – TechCrunch

Kenyan shopper expertise platform for companies in Africa, Ajua immediately introduced that it has acquired WayaWaya, a Kenya-based AI and ML messaging and funds firm.

WayaWaya’s prospects and companions embrace the likes of I&M Financial institution, Interswitch and MTN. The corporate affords a variety of providers, from digital banking and fee providers to monetary providers APIs and fee bots.

In keeping with Ajua, the acquisition is primarily targeted on WayaWaya’s funds bots system generally known as Janja. The platform, which has prospects like Airtel, Ezee Cash, Housing Finance Firm of Kenya (HF Group), permits borderless banking and funds throughout apps and social media platforms. Teddy Ogallo, the entrepreneur who based WayaWaya, joins Ajua as VP of Product APIs and Integrations.

Per Crunchbase, WayaWaya has simply raised $75,000. Though the 2 firms didn’t disclose the monetary particulars of the acquisition, Ajua is anticipated to have paid 10 instances greater than WayaWaya’s whole increase.

Ajua, previously mSurvey, was based in 2012 by Kenfield Griffith. The corporate is fixing a shopper knowledge downside for African companies to know their enterprise higher and drive progress.

“There’s a variety of commerce taking place on the continent and Ajua needs firms to maneuver from transaction numbers to the shoppers behind such transaction,” Griffith instructed TechCrunch. “Think about if we knew what drove shopper habits for companies. I imply, that’s an enormous exponential curve for African companies.”

Teddy Ogallo (Founder, WayaWaya) & Kenfield Griffith (CEO, Ajua)

Nigeria’s SME market alone is valued at $220 billion yearly. And whereas companies, principally large enterprises, can afford buyer communication instruments, a big section of small companies are being not noted. Ajua’s play is to make use of knowledge and analytics to attach firms with their prospects in actual time. “We’ve taken what makes enterprise prospects profitable, and we’re capturing it in a easy format so SMEs can have the identical instruments,” Griffith added

Since most shopper conduct for these SMEs occurs offline, Ajua offers companies distinctive USSD codes to obtain funds, get suggestions and supply reductions to their prospects. It is among the merchandise Ajua has launched over time for buyer suggestions on the level of service to companies that cumulatively have over 45 million prospects.

The corporate’s companions and purchasers additionally embrace Coca-Cola, FBNQuest, GoodLife Pharmacy, Java Home, Safaricom, Normal Chartered and Whole.

As an clever messaging bot, Janja is utilized by people and companies throughout WhatsApp, Fb Messenger and Telegram to automate buyer help and make cross-border funds. So, Janja’s integration into Ajua’s product stack will shut a lot of the acquirer’s buyer expertise loop by automating responses and giving prospects what they need, when they need it.

This acquisition comes a month after Ajua introduced that it partnered with telecom operator MTN Nigeria to launch a buyer administration product for Nigerian companies. The product known as MTN EnGauge carries the identical options current in Ajua however, on this case, is tailor-made solely for companies utilizing the MTN community. The roll-out is anticipated to generate extra knowledge for Ajua’s 1000’s of customers. It’ll even be upgraded to include Janja and different providers.

In hindsight, it seems Ajua might have created a product like Janja in-house resulting from its huge expertise within the shopper expertise house. Nonetheless, the corporate selected an acquisition and Griffith gave two the reason why — constructing the same product would have taken a very long time and Ogallo appeared to know Janja’s enterprise and operations so effectively, it simply made sense to get him on board. 

“Teddy was going the identical path we’re going. We simply thought to purchase WayaWaya as an alternative and make a actually good firm out of each merchandise trying to resolve the identical downside. To me, it’s all about fixing the issue collectively relatively than going alone,” stated the CEO. 

On why he accepted the acquisition, Ogallo, who now has a brand new function, famous that Ajua’s potential to scale customer support and expertise and likewise assist companies was one motive and earned admiration from him. “Seeing how WayaWaya’s know-how can complement Ajua’s revolutionary services and products, and assist scale and monetize companies, is an thrilling alternative for us, and we’re blissful that our groups might be collaborating to construct one thing distinctive for the continent,” he added

It is a strong infrastructure play from Ajua coming from a founder who’s an enormous advocate of acquisition and consolidation. Griffith believes that the 2 are methods for a speedier path to new markets and channels in Africa

I feel there are many methods we are able to construct the ecosystem. There are many younger expertise constructing stuff, they usually don’t have entry to capital to get to the following stage. The query is that if they wish to race to the end line or take off time and get acquired. I feel there’s an enormous alternative in Africa if you wish to remedy advanced issues by acquisition.”

There was an uptick in native acquisitions in Africa from startups inside a single nation and between two nations up to now three years. For the former, Nigerian recruitment platform Jobberman’s acquisition of NGCareers final yr involves thoughts. And there are pan-African situations like Lagos-based hub CcHub’s acquisition of iHub, its Nairobi counterpart; Ethiopian software program supplier Apposit sell-off to Nigerian fintech Paga; and Johannesburg-based fintech MFS Africa acquiring Uganda’s Beyonic.

The widespread theme among the many acquisitions (and most African acquisitions) is their undisclosed sums. For Ajua, Griffith cited regulatory points as one motive why the corporate is retaining the determine below wraps.

Since launching 9 years in the past, Ajua has raised a complete of $3.5 million, in line with Crunchbase. Given the character of this acquisition and partnership with MTN, the corporate would possibly set sights on one other fundraise to scale aggressively into Nigeria (a promote it entered in 2019) and different African nations.

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