South African company, ‘Qwili’ raises $1.2m seed round to help merchants send and receive payments easily


Qwili basically providers hybrid sales products to small merchants in Africa. The company has added to an unending list of African fintech companies providing seamless payment solutions for its users.

Qwili had recently closed an undisclosed pre-seed round and has now raised $1.2m seed funding to help improve its operations. The round was led by E4E Africa, a South African venture capital firm in conjunction with other firms llike Strat-Tech, Next Chymia, Untapped Global and Codec Ventures and angels like Ashwin Ravichandran and Kanyi Maqubela.

Qwili was originally launched in 2019 by Luyolo Sijake (CEO), Thandwefika Radebe, and Tapfuma Masunzambwa. Today, the company is regared as one of Africa’s most formidable and promising fintech companies.

The startup’s hardware is a low-cost Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled smartphone called the Qwili Pula, which allows merchants to send and receive payments.

Its software is available as an app for any smartphone or as an automatic installation on Qwili phones, which range in price from $60 to $70.

Basically, it turns smartphones into a point-of-sales(POS) system. Qwili has revealed that it is mostly targeting unbanked and digitally excluded customers. Qwili is making ecommerce a lot easier for South African vendors/merchants. Qwili takes a commission of every sale made through its app and regards to the app as a “digital sales portal”.

The initial plan was that Qwili would act as a B2C customer model where the company sold their devices to people who purchased value added services through their digital wallet. It seemed really simple at that time but that did not work. Qwili discovered that this model was not the right way to go and changed their plan.

Instead of purchasing the services themselves, people began to sell the software to others. Qwili took note of this and switched to a more efficient B2B model. Qwili claims that the platform has 500 micro and small merchants and processes $75,000 in monthly Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV).

Qwili has said it will use the investment to develop the app, improve the hardware and the entire company’s structure itself.


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