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YC-backed Namibian e-commerce platform, JABU, raises $15 million to fuel Southern African expansion

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Namibia-based B2B e-commerce platform, JABU, has announced the completion of its Series A funding round, raising $15 million from series of investors.

The series A funding round was led by Tiger Global, making it the second investment made by Tiger Global on JABU. Other investment firms like Box Group, Knollwood, and D Global Ventures, Afore Capital, Oldslip and FJ Labs, also participated in the fundraise.

The startup, which is a last-mile distribution e-commerce firm, said the funds raised will be used to spread its business presence across the southern part of Africa, and gain entry into new markets like Botswana and Eswatini, before the end of the year.

Speaking on JABU’s operations, founder and CEO, David Akinin noted that JABU is creating a much broader ecosystem for small businesses rather than being just a marketplace.

“Many businesses like ours are taking money out of the market. We’re trying to build a business that brings products into the market and continues in a journey that has a multiplier effect of moving that money 20 times around that market. And I think that’s the point of building the JABU wallet. There will be shared services; other products will stem from this and so will the ability to pay for services and products in those markets,” Akinin said.

When compared to the company’s 6000 merchants using its services in January, JABU prides itself of a 50% increase in the number, resulting in over 9000 merchants using its platform from countries like Namibia, Zambia, and South Africa. JABU works by easing up the process and logistic issues retailers go through to purchase products from distributors, and wholesalers.

JABU renders its solutions by creating JWallet, where merchants can make order, take stocks, pay for products, and get same-day delivery. JWallet also allows JABU customers to use physical inflows to offer cash withdrawals and deposit services for their customers.

“You can offer your end consumers the ability to withdraw and deposit money into their wallets and bank accounts through JABU. So we’re connecting an API to banks into the interchange, literally to allow someone who received money via the wallet to walk up to a JABU merchant who can use their physical float and withdraw money.” David Akinin said.

Read also: Kenyan aquaculture startup – Victory Farms – raises $5 million to push its expansion across East African

Akinin also noted that its JWallet has a broad scope of operations. The CEO further explains that through JABU’s API, anyone that receives money through Jwallet can walk up to any of its agents, and make withdrawals.

In January, 2022, JABU raised $3.2 million in its pre-series A funding round. The round had participations from Afore Capital, Y Combinator, FJ Labs, Quiet Capital, Kli Capital, Pareto Capital and a number of unnamed angels.

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