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South African fraud prevention startup – Orca – raises $550K to tackle cybercrime surge

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As cyber threats escalate across the African continent, a Cape Town-based startup has raised fresh funding to equip financial institutions with advanced fraud detection and prevention tools tailored to the region’s unique challenges.

Orca Fraud announced the close of an oversubscribed $550,000 pre-seed round led by Norrsken22, a pan-African venture capital firm. First Circle Capital, Musha Ventures, Kara Ventures and several angel investors also participated in the investment.

Founded in January 2024 by Thalia Pillay and Carla Wilby, Orca aims to empower banks, fintechs and compliance teams with an arsenal of analytics, monitoring and response capabilities to combat fraud at scale. The startup’s all-female founding team is a rarity in Africa’s male-dominated tech ecosystem.

“We’re excited to have strategic investors onboard who’ve successfully navigated the fraud prevention and B2B spaces,” said Pillay. “Their support will be invaluable as we validate our products for the African market and plan our growth trajectory.”

The fresh capital will enable Orca to expand its team and build out its suite of fraud management solutions tailored specifically for the complexities and regulatory environments within Africa’s emerging economies.

“The market needs bespoke, localized tools rather than retrofitted global products that don’t account for Africa’s infrastructure realities,” emphasized Nivesh Pather of Norrsken22. “Orca is well-positioned to become the leading fraud prevention platform for businesses on the continent.”

Read also: CcHub launches “Let’s Build, Africa!” program to support African startups entering new markets

The funding comes amid a cybercrime spike in South Africa, which was ranked the most cyber-attacked African nation and third globally in 2021 according to an Interpol assessment. Between 2018-2022, fraud incidents in the country surged by a staggering 600%.

With digital payments and fintech adoption accelerating across the region, vulnerability to sophisticated online financial crimes has increased substantially. Startups like Orca could prove pivotal in safeguarding Africa’s financial technology revolution from the escalating threat of data breaches and monetary losses.

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