Barely 9 months after its last series B mega raise, Konga has copped another round of funding. TechCabal’s sources are not able to provide an exact figure, but we are reliably informed that the just concluded deal is in the $40 to $60 million dollar range, and thus its biggest yet.
In January, TechCabal reported that Konga raised a $25 million series B from Naspers and Kinnevik. The same investors are participating in the series C, with South African Naspers leading the round.
Upon TechCabal inquiry, Konga CEO, Sim Shagaya declined to volunteer any specifics about the deal. He was however more than happy to talk about Konga’s latest expansion activities which can be assumed to be where the funding will be going. There is talk of expanding the engineering department, investing in core retail inventory, and in a surprising turn of events, ramping up Konga’s proprietary logistics and fulfilment infrastructure.
“Six months ago, we said we were not going to touch logistics. UPS was supposed to save us”, Sim said. Indeed, Konga inked a deal with UPS in late 2013 that was supposed to bridge the logistics gap with the courier service’s extensive Nigerian footprint and technology.
But it wasn’t enough. According to Sim, local fulfilment services have been unable to keep pace with the growing volume of Konga shipments, leading Konga to the conclusion that it must create its own logistics infrastructure, a service called Konga Express.
TLDR – Konga has created its own Apost. Over 200 staff have been recruited to work on Konga Express. Over the past two months, More than 15 K-Express dropoff points have been created to service that service its marketplace merchants. Sim expects that the fleet of vehicles that they are acquiring to make the deliveries will become as big as UPS in Nigeria before the end of 2015.
The engineering team is also on track to explode, as the online shopping platform’s technology because more sophisticated and robust. User interface redesigns, mobile apps and payment tweaks are some of the more visible things Konga has been up to of late, but the growing pressure on the underlying infrastructure is necessitating a move towards owning its own technology and less dependence on Magento, one of the more popular shopping frameworks.
“We can’t hire engineers fast enough”, says Jim Hartford, director of engineering at Konga. There are currently over 80 developers on the team across Nigeria and South Africa, and recruitment is still ongoing.
In all, Konga currently employs over 800 staff.
Konga has always kept its numbers close to its vest, but sources familiar with the latest raise say the transaction values the ecommerce startup at anywhere from $160 to $200 million.