The lack of and high cost of access to digital products and services in the African markets are the challenges Qwili is focused on solving.
The achievement of the South African startup’s goal will be bolstered by its current $1.2 million seed funding led by South African venture capital firm, E4E Africa.
Other investors who participated in the round were Strat-Tech, Next Chymia, Untapped Global and Codec Ventures. Angel investors such as Ashwin Ravichandran and Kanyi Maqubela also participated.
Qwili will leverage the fund for the development of its app, bring in more hands to improve operations and hardware production.
Founded by Luyolo Sijake, Thandwefika Radebe and Tapfuma Masunzambwa, Qwili has developed an inexpensive and NFC-enabled hybrid hardware-software product consisting of a smartphone called Qwili Pula and a digital sales ecosystem, to allow merchants send and receive payments seamlessly.
Qwili’s quality and affordable digital product was built to enhance access to reliable smartphones and mobile internet across sub-Saharan Africa, reaching users who include POS agents using these devices.
The startup has developed an operating system for its devices and non-Qwili smartphones, with the central feature being a sales portal.
This sales portal is used by Qwili agents to sell value-added services such as airtime, electricity and pay TV subscriptions for a commission, enabling them to generate additional income, and end users to access products that are ordinarily inaccessible to them or very expensive.
Qwili intends expanding operations into Botswana and affirms that it currently processes $75,000 monthly GMV from its 500 merchants. It saw a strong turnover growth of over 300% from the first to second quarter of 2022 and plans to increase this number by $1 million from 3,000 merchants by the end of the year.