Talk360, an international calling app that allows users to make dependable and economical calls to any landline or mobile phone in the world, has raised $4 million in funding as it prepares to launch a new pan-African payment platform in mid-2022.
Leading African venture capital investor HAVAC, 4Di Capital, and numerous famous fintech angel investors led the seed round of funding.
While the Talk360 app is rapidly developing on the continent, with an increasing number of paying customers, accessibility has been a problem for the continent’s 500 million underserved people. Users either do not have internet banking or their local currencies or payment methods are just not supported when purchasing Talk360 airtime.
The new payment platform intends to solve the ongoing issue of inaccessibility by allowing consumers to purchase goods and services in any currency and via more than 160 payment methods. It will also be made available to other service providers.
Dean Hiine, a South African venture builder, and Dutch entrepreneurs Hans Osnabrugge and Jorne Schamp co-founded Talk360 in 2016. It has since connected more than 2 million people 2021 with offices in South Africa, the Netherlands, India, and Nigeria.
“From the start, our mission was to bridge distance and connect lives by offering reliable, affordable, and easy-to-use digital services, delivered in a localised manner to all communities, particularly emerging countries, so they can connect to the world,” said Hiine.
“The Talk360 app is now the number one calling app in Africa, independent of users’ currency or preferred way of payment. Thanks to our + 750K physical points of sale and ability to support mobile wallets, our reach goes beyond the traditional credit and debit card support that international companies usually use. We now have enough traction to attract internationally renowned investors to expand our footprint and allow other companies to use our unique single checkout payment platform for all of Africa,” said Hiine.
Talk360’s ability to overcome the obstacle of distribution in Africa and organic development was “nothing short of extraordinary,” according to Ian Lessem, managing partner of HAVAC, citing the quality of its product, technology, and leadership team.
“With HAVAÍC’s experience, networks and complimentary investments in Africa, we are incredibly excited about the prospects of Talk360. We believe the business will not only continue on a path of exponential customer acquisition, but is well on its way to leverage this growth by offering other complementary technology-enabled products to its growing customer base,” said Lessem.
The angel investors include several unicorn founders and executives such as Gaston Aussems (ex-Mollie), Robert Kraal (ex-Adyen), Gabriel de Montessuss (President WorldPay International) and Marnix van der Ploeg (ex-Booking.com and EQT). Aussems said Africa was an ‘interesting growth market’, with a fast-growing middle class.
“Through the calling app, Talk360 has already connected many people and is consistently improving the lives of its customers. With 60% of the population under the age of 25, there is huge potential for mobile digital services. The new payment platform will make it possible for providers to offer their services across the continent and to offer a suitable payment option for every consumer,” said Aussems.
Through its fast expanding agent network, Talk360 also hopes to expedite its purpose of creating jobs and reducing unemployment in the regions it serves.