Maka: Simplifying Fashion and Beauty Shopping in Africa – Social Commerce Platform Secures $2.65M Funding

Maka, an African fashion and beauty e-commerce platform, has raised a $2.65 million pre-seed round led by Pan-African venture capital firms 4DX Ventures and Janngo Capital. She said launching Maka began during the pandemic when she was in Ghana and struggled to find inclusive fashion inspiration. To address the trust element, Maka leverages videos as a means to connect users with trusted creators. Notably, the platform offers a review option, allowing customers who make purchases to share their feedback through video reviews, usually between 30 and 60 seconds long. Furthermore, creators can download their reviews from Maka and share them on other social media platforms, earning additional points for each share.

Maka, an African fashion and beauty e-commerce platform, has recently announced their latest achievement – a successful pre-seed funding round of $2.65 million. This milestone was led by two leading Pan-African venture capital firms, 4DX Ventures and Janngo Capital. Other investors taking part in the pre-seed round include Palm Drive Capital, angel investor Jonathan Shipman, founder of EVP and Twitch founding member. Executives from delivery platform Wolt also contributed towards this significant investment.

In 2021, co-founder and CEO Diana Owusu-Kyereko founded Maka with a clear vision in mind. The platform aims to be an interactive social commerce platform that helps users discover fashion and beauty products tailored to their styles in a scalable way. This is done through live try-on hauls, reviews, and user-generated content from both creators and customers.

Before venturing into the e-commerce business, Owusu-Kyereko held positions such as ex-CEO of Jumia Ghana and ex-CCO of Jumia Kenya. Her experiences from these roles, as well as her struggles to find inclusive fashion inspiration during the pandemic, led her to launch Maka.

“I was in Ghana during the pandemic and had a hard time finding fashion inspiration that catered to me. As a typical repatriate, I would usually travel to London for shopping. But with restricted travel, I had to explore alternatives. However, I realized that most recommendations were mainstream sites and influencers.” – Diana Owusu-Kyereko, CEO and Co-founder of Maka

Owusu-Kyereko conducted surveys on hundreds of people in Ghana and Nigeria and discovered that shopping was a challenging experience, with a significant gap that needed to be addressed. She found that trust in the buying process was a significant issue for consumers, and mainstream shopping methods such as Instagram and traditional markets had their limitations.

According to Owusu-Kyereko, Instagram, in particular, was like “the Wild Wild West” of e-commerce in low-trust markets. The platform lacked transparency and offered limited options for refunds or returns. On the other hand, traditional markets could be stressful, leading to a reliance on personal shoppers. Even cross-border shopping from popular international platforms like ASOS and Shein presented challenges related to payments and logistics.

Thus, Maka was launched with the aim of addressing these trust issues and empowering African creators. The platform offers a unique solution by leveraging the power of video to connect users with trusted creators. As Owusu-Kyereko puts it, “Seeing items on a creator they trust gives users confidence in their purchasing decisions.”

Maka initially considered building a marketplace where creators, consumers, vendors, and brands would coexist, with creators showcasing products. However, the team realized that customers were primarily looking for assurance that what they see is what they get. So, now, every customer becomes a creator on the platform.

“What we need is kind of like a scalable base of creators, and that’s why the user-generated content model is so powerful. And that’s why everybody can be a creator is so powerful because then it’s scalable.” – Diana Owusu-Kyereko, CEO and Co-founder of Maka

One of the key features of Maka’s platform is the ability for customers to leave video reviews of products they have purchased, usually between 30 and 60 seconds long. These reviews not only provide valuable insights for other users but also earn points for the creator who made the review. This way, both customers and creators benefit from the platform, creating a sense of community and trust.

In addition, Maka offers a rewards system for creators who upload video reviews, earning N500 (50 cents) for each review. They also earn points when others make purchases based on their reviews. These points can be converted into cash to shop on the platform or shared on other social media sites for more rewards.

Since its launch, Maka has garnered over 500,000 downloads through its initial model of engaging with creators through live sessions. But, with the user-generated content model launched two months ago, the platform has seen over 2,000 reviews created in just two years. This remarkable success has put Maka in a prime position to expand its team and operational development, enhance its technology, and deepen its presence in Ghana and Nigeria.

Janngo Capital’s founder and executive chair, Fatoumata Bâ, spoke about the firm’s investment in Maka, saying, “These three sectors – e-commerce, creative, and cultural industries – are jointly poised to grow by 4x by 2050 and generate up to $200 billion GDP while creating 184 million jobs. We are proud to lead this funding round to help unlock the potential for massive growth and impact on the continent.”

Maka has truly set itself apart as an innovative e-commerce platform that not only provides a seamless shopping experience but also empowers African creators. With its user-generated content model and focus on building trust, Maka is well-positioned to tap into the rapidly expanding African e-commerce market and make a significant impact.

Avatar photo
Dylan Williams

Dylan Williams is a multimedia storyteller with a background in video production and graphic design. He has a knack for finding and sharing unique and visually striking stories from around the world.

Articles: 874

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *