South Africa’s Talk360 raises $4 million to build a single payment platform for Africa – TechCrunch

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Many companies looking to set up pan-African operations are often faced with the challenge of establishing payment services tailored to each country they visit. Most payment service merchants working on the continent have solutions limited to specific regions, which means companies must sign agreements with multiple providers to meet the unique preferences of their users in different countries. This is a gap that Talk360 seeks to fill by creating a new payment platform that will integrate all payment options available across Africa. This product, he says, will open businesses to the largest pool of localized payment options in Africa.

Meanwhile, the startup is also looking to expand its international calling operations across Africa after closing a $4 million seed funding round, led by HAVAÍC. HAVAÍC has been joined by a number of angel investors, including Gaston Aussems (ex-Mollie), Robert Kraal (ex-Adyen), Gabriel de Montessuss (president WorldPay International) and Marnix van der Ploeg (ex-Booking.com and EQT).

While saying calling business will continue to grow in Africa, Talk360 co-founder and managing director for Africa, Dean Hiine, told TechCrunch that he foresees strong growth for his calling platform. payment, which he says will also make it easier for international merchants to sell to users. in Africa too. He added that the startup decided to create its own payment platform considering the need to facilitate checkout and payment for its users in Africa.

Currently, the startup is working through integrations with older payment service providers, which are mostly limited by regional specificity. Hiine says its new platform will bring together all “dispersed payment methods” across Africa on a common platform, which it says will positively impact Talk360’s results and those of other merchants. who will use its platform.

Talk360, one of the leading Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) players in Africa, allows people to make international calls through its app for a fee, and it is designed in such a way that only the initiator needs to app and internet – a smartphone – to make calls.

“In our appeals business, we have identified unique digital payment issues in Africa. Payment methods are scattered and payment processes are long… And we could see that this issue had a serious impact on our results in terms of conversion rates that we were seeing in Africa… This is an issue we have encountered and which we are trying to solve for other traders on the mainland as well by making the process quick and easy,” Hiine said.

“We’re building the platform to really increase our conversion rate by giving the user experience a single checkout and at some level offering predictive analytics – to indicate preferred payment methods for that region and offer them as best options for the user,” said Hiine.

Calling app Talk360 connected 2 million people last year and has paid users in 170 countries so far, and that number is expected to grow as the startup begins to ramp up its marketing efforts and plans. of expansion, which include the creation of a hub in Kenya.

Talk360 was co-founded by Hiine, Hans Osnabrugge and Jorne Schamp in 2016 as a mobile app (used to avoid roaming charges). However, the co-founders were forced to rethink their strategy after social media apps like WhatsApp introduced internet calling.

They rebuilt to accommodate digitally marginalized people by removing the requirement for the person at the end of the call to have an internet connection or the app.

Talk360’s partnerships with agents such as PesaPoint in Kenya and Flash in South Africa also allow users to purchase airtime vouchers from a network of over 750,000 physical outlets.

South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Bangladesh are some of the markets where the calling app is widely used.

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