Nairobi — A Kenyan based API startup - Africa Talking - has closed an $8.6 million (Sh860m) equity investment from the International Finance Corporation, Orange Digital Ventures and Social Capital.
The Series A investment will allow Africa Talking to expand its footprint in the continent with IFC's Wale Ayeni joining the Board of Africa Talking.
Africa Talking provides communication-platform-as-a-service APIs to more than 20,000 software developers in Africa currently serving over 1,000 digital companies, enabling them to create applications faster and more efficiently.
Africa's Talking's scalable platform enables it to service both the one-man shop as well as larger enterprises - developers, startups, large companies - to embed messaging, voice, and video communications into their apps, allowing them to better connect with their mass market customers.
From SMS services that help farmers improve crop yields to voice APIs that connect women to nearby family planning clinics, Africa's Talking's simple APIs enable businesses to build robust and value-additive digital products.
The company is headquartered in Kenya and recently expanded to Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, and Nigeria.
The tech start-up also provides cloud-based software that virtualizes telco infrastructure in several African markets
Nikunj Jinsi, IFC Global Head for Venture Capital, said IFC's investment will help Africa's Talking expand its integrated solution to new markets across Africa, "filling a crucial gap and helping fuel the digital economy across the continent."
Africa Talking CEO and Co-Founder Samuel Gikandi said the investment will leverage on IFC's experience in Africa catalyzing expansion and development of new products.
"Together, we believe that we can build the foundation and environment that developers need to build successful African businesses," said Samuel Gikandi, CEO and Co-Founder of Africa's Talking.
Part of the investment will go to Africa's Talking Studio, an incubation centre that will nurture brilliant developers build products.