A few months after the initial closing of the seed round, Talk360The South African Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) startup has raised an additional $3 million, bringing its total funding round to $7 million.
Talk360’s latest investors include Allan Gray E2 Ventures (AGEV), Kalon Venture Partners, E4E Africa, Endeavor, existing lead investor HAVAÍC, and numerous angel investors including Tjaart van der Walt and Coenraad Jonker.
The company plans to use the new funds to launch a pan-African payments platform next year and expand its VoIP market share. Talk360’s payments platform will integrate “all payment options” across the continent – creating a diverse pool of localized payment options, enabling 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 open to other merchants,” Talk360 said in a statement.
Talk360 told TechCrunch in a past interview that its decision to become a payments aggregator was due to the challenges it faced implementing digital payment options, which impacted the bottom line of its internet calling business.
Dean HeinThe startup’s Africa co-founder and managing director told TechCrunch that existing digital payment methods in Africa are fragmented, and some involve lengthy and complex processes that affect their conversion rates.
Hiine co-founded the startup with him Hans Osner Bruges and Jon Champ In 2016, it hopes to use the payment platform to allow more people on the African continent to make international calls through its app. Talk360 users pay to make calls, and its platform is built in such a way that only the originator needs the app and the internet—a smartphone—to make calls.
“Our mission is to bridge distance and connect lives by providing reliable, affordable and easy-to-use digital services that are locally available to all communities, especially emerging countries, so they can connect to the world,” Hiine said.
The startup also has a network of agents, including PesaPoint in Kenya and Flash in South Africa, enabling users to purchase airtime vouchers from more than 750,000 brick-and-mortar points of sale.
“But we’re not just addressing socioeconomic issues: we’re also providing micro-entrepreneurship and income-generating opportunities for 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 and has achieved 167% customer growth and 130% revenue growth. The app has active users in over 170 countries including South Africa, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.
“Based on the strong progress Talk360 has made in the South African market to date, and its potential in the rest of Africa, we are investing more in Talk360. Since our first investment, the company has shown phenomenal growth and is well positioned to respond The true capabilities of the African distribution challenge. We have seen the company convert users into paying customers by providing relevant services to users and accessing them in a simple, affordable, reliable and trustworthy way,” said Ian, Managing Partner, HAVAÍC Lessem said.