Nigeria-based digital classifieds company, Jiji, has raised US$21 million in a Series C and C-1 funding from six investors led by Knuru Capital. Jiji is a buying and selling platform that operates in five African countries that include Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania.
Founded in 2014, Jiji grew to become the number one online marketplace in 2015 in terms of traffic and advertisements. From cars and furniture to real estate and clothing, users of the Jiji platform can buy or sell anything.
Early this year, Jiji acquired its competitor OLX’s assets in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda in a trade move that turned more online buyers and sellers into users of the Jiji platform.
With the expansion, Jiji has also boosted its security system to reduce fraudulent activities on the platform and eliminate fake listings. According to co-founder, Vladimir Mnogoletniy, the high percentage of fraud listings have since been reduced.
“We were able to eliminate a high-percentage of fraud listings and estimate fraud listings at less than 1%,… We take data protection very seriously. We have a data-control officer just to do the data-protection verification.”Vladimir Mnogoletniy
The Plan for Jiji’s US$21 Million Series C-1 Funding
The recent fund raised by Jiji brings the total capital raised from 2014 to 2019 to US$50 million. The last funding of US$21 million will, according to Mnogoletniy, be used to increase the number of buyers, sellers and overall transactions on the platform.
Jiji will also upgrade its platform to create more listings and boost its matching speed for real estate deals. While the company is not looking to expand into other African countries with this funding, Jiji plans to further establish its core value offering in the five African markets where it currently operates.
“Maybe at some point we will consider more acquisitions, but for the time being we’d like to focus on those five markets,”Mnogoletniy
Unlike its competitor Jumia, Jiji has not started exploring the fintech opportunities that come with the volume of transactions carried out daily on its platform. According to the company stats from 2018, Jiji has recorded 8 million unique monthly users so far.
Jiji eyes a bigger market of 400 million people in the countries where it currently operates, and according to Mnogoletniy, the company is focused solely on reaching those people with its core business offering over the next few years.
“We’ve had a lot of discussions about adding segments other than our main business. We decided that for the next three to five years, we should be laser focused on our core business — to be the largest marketplace in Africa for buying and selling to over 400 million people”Mnogoletniy
While Jiji focuses on building its operating strength, competitors surround it in the African classifieds ads market space. Opera-backed Opay has recently released Olist which is a digital classifieds platform where people can buy and sell. Other competitors involve JumiaDeals and Cars45.
According to Mnogoletniy, Jiji’s experience and business focus give it an edge over competitors as it works to deepen business operations in Africa. That may be enough to keep it ahead of competitors.