This startup allows small business owners to place ads using airtime; it has raised $1.5 million pre-seed to pursue its next growth phase in Nigeria and Kenya.

tappi, an end-to-end digital commerce SaaS solution tailored for small and medium-sized businesses, has raised $1.5 million in a pre-seed round. tappi simplifies the process of creating and managing an online business profile, enabling SMEs to showcase their products and services, engage with customers, and accept payments. 

Mercy Corps Ventures and Chui Ventures led the fund round, with participation from Digital Currency Group, SOSV, Resilience17, growX ventures, Orbit Startups and Reflect Ventures, with participation from angel investors and advisors from global tech companies, including Google, Salesforce, Zendesk. tappi will use the new funding to double down on its current markets and focus on talent acquisition and overall brand building.

SMEs are the lifeblood of the African economy, contributing about 50% to the continent’s GDP and employing over 80% of the workforce. However, these businesses are rife with numerous challenges, which may include digitising their businesses to leverage profits in the digital age. 

Founded in 2022 by Kenfield Griffith (CEO) and Louis Majanja, tappi helps to digitise these small businesses by creating an online business profile or websites for them. Once a business owner creates a profile on the tappi app and supplies their business information, tappi creates a website which is SEO-optimised and indexed on Google. 

“Our goal is to help businesses achieve visibility,” Griffith told TechCabal. According to Griffith, the websites are usually available in 2 minutes. Per numbers seen by TechCabal, tappi has indexed 5,000 business pages on Google over the last few months. Via these sites, tappi helps businesses collect reviews from their customers. 

tappi also partners with mobile network operators—currently, it only partners with MTN—to ensure that small business owners can purchase ads using airtime. Oftentimes, small businesses encounter bottlenecks when trying to pay for ads with their credit cards. However, tappi offers users a specialised data bundle consisting of an ad credit for placing ads, a data bundle, and a voice bundle. 

tappi offers an AI feature that businesses can use to generate business ad descriptions. According to Griffith, tappi’s AI feature is used to provide what the businesses don’t have the resources to do. “We have found that most of these businesses do not have the resources to craft their ad copies well, hence low-performing ads,” he said. “So the tool permits them to input details about their business and get ad copy,” he said. 

tappi is not yet profitable but Griffith asserts that the startup is on the path to profitability and is looking to explore partnerships for its next phase of growth. The startup makes money from customers’ subscriptions ranging from $2 to $100. Griffith says the startup has seen a huge flow of subscribers between the $2–$19 threshold and has seen a 19% MoM growth in business ads and business data bundle subscriptions. 

Speaking on the round, Griffith said, “We are grateful to be supported by great investors who share our vision and the mission to address the untapped potential within Africa’s informal SME markets, particularly in overlooked service industries such as food services, fashion, and agriculture, and health and beauty. We are eager to empower SMEs across Africa by providing them with a trusted identity online to find customers.”

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