Wowzi, a tech startup with operations in Kenya, recently announced its closure of a Ksh. 226 million ($2 million) seed round to scale its influencer marketing platform across Africa. The round was led by 4DX Ventures, with participation from To.org, Golden Palm Investments, LoftyInc Capital, Afropreneur Angels, and Future Africa. Andela co-founder Christina Sass and alumni Jessica Chervin, Justin Ziegler, and Johnny Falla also participated in the round.
The Ksh. 226 million ($2 million) seed round comes after a previously unannounced Ksh. 135.7 million ($1.2 million) pre-seed round, bringing the total amount raised to Ksh. 362 million ($3.2 million). The company’s online marketplace democratizes influence, connecting everyday social media users with big brands. This enables nano and micro creators to earn money by spreading brand messages via social media. Wowzi plans to use the new funding to scale partnerships with local, regional, and multinational FMCG companies, Telcos, Banks, creative agencies and development institutions to create dignified digital economy jobs for the African youth.
In its first 18 months of operation, Wowzi has on-boarded 70,000 influencers across Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, primarily through word of mouth. Brands are increasingly aligning their marketing strategies to tap into micro and nano content creators looking to monetize their social media accounts. This is because they get higher engagement with their followers on posts and are more believable messengers than celebrity personalities. Wowzi acts as the intersection of the Future of Marketing and the Future of Work by bringing dignified brand jobs online.
Speaking on the recently secured funding, Wowzi co-founder and CEO Brian Mogeni said, “Mobile use has become a key driver of commerce in African markets, and it’s where young people already spend their time. Young people only require lightweight remote training to master the key principles of sharing brand messages, so suddenly anyone with a phone can influence their peers through social media. Now that Wowzi has created the technology platform to efficiently distribute and manage job offers to thousands of youth at a time, brands have an opportunity to engage directly with youth and offer meaningful gig work.”
4DX Ventures Co-Founder and General Partner Peter Orth said, “We believe that Wowzi has the potential to transform the way advertising is done in Africa and beyond. The ROI their platform delivers to brands is an order of magnitude better than traditional advertising campaigns, and while delivering this impact they are also creating a large number of jobs for an emerging class of digital influencers. We’re very excited to partner with Wowzi to help them deliver on their big vision.”