Wowzi, an internet-based Kenyan startup, has secured a total of $3.2 million financing from the Africa-focused venture capital firm 4DX Ventures, part of which includes a recently concluded $2 million seed round.
Launched in 2020, Wowzi is an online marketplace that democratises influence, connecting everyday social media users with big brands, and enabling nano and micro creators to earn money by spreading brand messages via social media.
The startup’s self-serve online platform allows brands of any size or industry to create and manage massive, distributed messaging campaigns utilising thousands of real, everyday customers and fans who get paid to offer authentic endorsements online for the products they already love.
Brands like Netflix, Safaricom, Diageo, Coca Cola, P&G and Absa Bank are now designing campaigns involving 5,000 or more people at a time, with Wowzi having on-boarded 70,000 influencers across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in its first 18 months of operation, conducted primarily through word of mouth.
Wowzi plans to use the new investment to set up operations in Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa. It plans to use these new hubs to enter more countries across the continent.
“Mobile use has become a key driver of commerce in African markets, and it’s where young people already spend their time. Young people only require lightweight remote training to master the key principles of sharing brand messages, so suddenly anyone with a phone can influence their peers through social media.
“Now that Wowzi has created the technology platform to efficiently distribute and manage job offers to thousands of youth at a time, brands have an opportunity to engage directly with youth and offer meaningful gig work. Wowzi offers a new layer of advertising for brands that can help target niche communities,” said Wowzi co-founder and CEO Brian Mogeni.
On his part, 4DX Ventures co-founder and general partner Peter Orth said he believed Wowzi has the potential to transform the way advertising is done in Africa, and beyond.
“The ROI their platform delivers to brands is an order of magnitude better than traditional advertising campaigns, and while delivering this impact they are also creating a large number of jobs for an emerging class of digital influencers. We’re very excited to partner with Wowzi to help them deliver on their big vision,” he said.
Aside from 4DX Ventures, other investors in the seed round were To.org, Golden Palm Investments, LoftyInc Capital, Afropreneur Angels and Future Africa.
Andela co-founder Christina Sass and former company executives Jessica Chervin, Justin Ziegler, as well as Johnny Falla, who currently serves as chief development and growth officer at Wowzi took part in the round.