Kenyan startup Wowzi secures $3.2 million from 4DX Ventures, Andela co-founder to develop throughout Africa – •

Kenyan startup Wowzi has secured new funding to develop the attain of its platform, which turns social media customers into model influencers, to West and Southern Africa — because it faucets the rising utilization of social websites throughout the continent pushed by the proliferation of smartphones and a deepening web penetration.

Wowzi, which connects social media customers with advertisers and offers client insights, has secured a complete of $3.2 million from buyers over the previous couple of months, a part of which features a lately concluded $2 million seed spherical that was led by the Africa-focused enterprise capital agency 4DX Ventures. This was preceded by a $1.2 million pre-seed spherical.

Different buyers within the seed spherical have been To.org, Golden Palm Investments, LoftyInc Capital, Afropreneur Angels, and Future Africa. Andela co-founder Christina Sass, and former Andela executives Jessica Chervin, Justin Ziegler, in addition to Johnny Falla, who at the moment serves as chief improvement and development officer at Wowzi, took half within the spherical too.

Wowzi plans to make use of the brand new funding to arrange operations in Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa, looking for development alternatives past Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, the place it at the moment has a bodily presence. It plans to make use of these new hubs to enter extra international locations throughout the continent.

“We’re primarily centered on increasing throughout Africa in 2022 and in different rising markets globally,” Wowzi co-founder and CEO, Brian Mogeni, advised •.

“We’re additionally including new product capabilities and options, as we proceed to develop our expertise and supply extra worth to our communities,” he mentioned.

Wowzi makes it doable for manufacturers to associate with social media customers for advertising campaigns. This a brand new type of digital advertising that pivots from the norm of utilizing celebrities for advertising campaigns. Wowzi mentioned by utilizing regular web customers, it’s tapping “extra genuine engagements or product endorsements” from individuals who work together with these manufacturers each day.

The startup additionally relieves manufacturers from the stress of managing influencers because the platform operates in an automatic trend. To submit a marketing campaign, manufacturers filter out their most popular influencer demographic teams based mostly on traits like gender, location, career or earnings ranges. Wowzi then matches them with with the suitable kind of influencers for his or her wants. The manufacturers then refine their search (based mostly on the content material shared or stage of exercise) after which attain out to the influencers they need.

“Managing influencers is tough; from establishing contact, negotiations, contracting, guaranteeing that content material is delivered and is posted on time to following up on fee. It’s a whole lot of work. We handle your complete course of with the model to make it possible for it’s profitable,” mentioned Falla

Wowzi influencers are categorized as nano, micro, mega, meta and tremendous (celebrities), and so they perform advertising campaigns for manufacturers by way of their social media accounts on websites like Tik Tok, Twitter, Fb and Instagram. Nonetheless, Wowzi’s focus is principally on nano and micro influencers (social media customers with lower than 10,000 followers).

Anybody with not less than 250 (nano influencers) connections on a social website suits the profile of a Wowzi influencer, however candidates should undergo a number of verification ranges earlier than they begin getting gigs.

“Manufacturers need to have extra genuine engagements or endorsements for merchandise, from individuals who use and love them, and might speak about actual sensible purposes. Our campaigns present that nano influencers ship higher gross sales leads due to the upper belief with their following,” Falla advised •.

“Manufacturers additionally entry a neighborhood of their most certainly clients, and so this makes the campaigns hyper focused for them as properly,” mentioned Falla.

Wowzi co-founders (l-r) Mike Otieno, Hassan Bashir and Brian Mogeni. Picture Credit: Wowzi.

Wowzi works with artistic companies or immediately with manufacturers to assist them scale their campaigns. It has thus far labored with Coca Cola, Netflix, Safaricom, Diageo, P&G and Absa Financial institution.

The processes are automated, which implies that manufacturers get information they’ll use to judge the attain of the advertising campaigns.

“We provide a extremely complete reporting dashboard on-line. So, manufacturers can verify in to see precisely what occurred, what posts have been made by the influencers, which of them carried out the very best and analytics of the demographics for individuals who have been truly reached,” mentioned Falla.

Wowzi is the brainchild of Mogeni, Hassan Bashir and Mike Otieno, who co-founded the corporate mid-2019 however the platform went reside a day earlier than Kenya’s president imposed the primary lockdown final 12 months. Because it later turned out, a window of alternative opened as extra manufacturers realized that they needed to undertake different methods of promoting as journey and human interplay remained restricted.

The startup has thus far labored with 200 manufacturers, carried out over 15,000 campaigns and delivered over 200,000 paid gigs thus far. Wowzi has grown 20-fold during the last one 12 months.

Extra lately, manufacturers are capable of submit market analysis jobs together with the engagement of influencers in polls or surveys. That is a part of Wowzi’s plan to develop past an influencer advertising platform to a jobs aggregator.

“We lately rolled out a market intelligence service which permits the identical manufacturers, SMEs or improvement companies to tug data in a sooner, focused and richer format from their focal segments,” mentioned Mogeni.

Wowzi is now eyeing over 1 million job alternatives within the brief time period because it establishes a powerful pan-African presence. This objective is achievable for the startup, which has efficiently carried out campaigns throughout a number of markets in Africa together with Mauritius, Mozambique, Zambia and Cameroon.

“We truly had our first engagement in Cameroon lately after Netflix requested us to work with them in a further eight international locations. And so, what we’ve got seen is that we will scale simply, even with out the necessity for a bodily presence,” mentioned Falla.

Throughout sub-Saharan Africa 303 million folks, about 28% of the inhabitants, are related to the cellular web based on the 2021 GSMA Cellular Economic system report. That is anticipated to develop to about 40% of the inhabitants by 2025, providing a much bigger market to internet-based companies like Wowzi.

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