NIGERIA – MAKA, a Nigerian social commerce startup that makes discovering and purchasing fashion items seamless, has raised a US$2.65 million pre-seed round of funding to help it scale. 

The investment was co-led by 4DX Ventures and Janngo, with additional backing from Palm Drive Capital. It also includes angel investor Jonathan Shipman and executives from delivery platform Wolt. 

“African e-commerce deserves better, and we’re driven by our belief that everyone should be able to easily discover their style, feel represented and express their individuality. Our technology, coupled with our team of experts, not only empowers users but also liberates them to confidently explore and make purchases from verified and trusted brands,” said founder and CEO Diana Owusu-Kyereko. Owusu-Kyereko was the ex-CEO of Jumia Ghana and ex-CCO of Jumia Kenya

Founded in 2021, MAKA is an interactive social commerce platform which, through live try-on hauls, reviews, and user-generated content from both creators and customers, enables users to discover products tailored to their personal styles in a scalable way.

After struggling to find inclusive fashion inspiration during the pandemic, Owusu-Kyereko found herself being directed to mainstream websites and influencers by friends. Realizing an unmet need and a lack of diversity in style recommendations, she founded MAKA, which has to date amassed over 550,000 downloads.

“Young consumers today face a shared dilemma – they crave authenticity and the freedom to set their own trends, but they are influenced by real people, and they seek choice and individuality without being misled,” Owusu-Kyereko said.

“Our focus remains clear, and we’re committed to providing our users with an authentic space to explore their unique style while empowering creators to showcase their content and connect with new audiences. We want to foster meaningful connections between creators and customers.”  

MAKA addresses the problems creators have monetizing their influence and trust issues that arise during the transaction process. The platform uses interactive video to foster trust between users and content creators. 

Interestingly, the platform provides a review feature that lets users share their thoughts through 30- to 60-second videos that they have created after making a purchase. These reviews impact other users’ purchasing decisions by offering insightful information.

Fatoumata Bâ, founder and executive chair of Janngo Capital, said her company had been drawn to MAKA’s vision as it leverages technology to empower both consumers and creators, thus cementing its position at the forefront of the junction between e-commerce, creative and cultural industries across Africa. 

“These three sectors are jointly poised to grow by 4x by 2050 and generate up to US$200 billion GDP while creating 184 million jobs. We are proud to lead this funding round to help unlock a potential of massive growth and impact on the continent,” she said.

The surge in technology adoption, particularly among the younger demographic, has propelled e-commerce penetration from 13% in 2017 to 28% in 2021, reaching 334 million users. 

This rapid expansion presents substantial opportunities for Maka to connect with a broader consumer base across the continent, specifically focusing on the fashion sector and the creator economy.

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