Many firms intending to expand across Africa face the issue of developing payment options that are appropriate for each country they visit. The majority of payment service merchants on the continent have solutions that are limited to specific regions, which means that businesses must sign agreements with various providers to accommodate the diverse preferences of their users in different countries. Talk360 is attempting to close this gap by developing a new payment platform that will combine all accessible payment alternatives across Africa. This offering, it claims, will give businesses access to Africa’s largest pool of localized payment choices.
Meanwhile, following a $4 million early funding round led by HAVAC, the business is hoping to extend its international calling operations across Africa. Gaston Aussems (ex-Mollie), Robert Kraal (ex-Adyen), Gabriel de Montessuss (President WorldPay International), and Marnix van der Ploeg (ex-Booking.com and EQT) were among the angel investors who took part in the round.
While talking about how the calling business would continue to develop in Africa, Dean Hiine, co-founder and managing director for Africa at Talk360, explained that the company’s payment platform will make it easy for international merchants to sell to African users, and will grow even faster. He went on to say that the firm decided to establish its own payment platform since it needed to make payment and checkout simple for its African users.
Currently, the firm relies on interfaces with older payment service providers, which are hampered by regional differences. Hiine claims that his new platform would put all of Africa’s “scattered payment methods” onto a single platform, which he believes will benefit Talk360’s bottom line as well as the bottom lines of other merchants who will utilize it.
Talk360’s future plans
Talk360, a leading Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) player in Africa, allows individuals to make international calls for a fee through its app, which is designed so that just the caller requires the app and the internet — a smartphone — to make calls.
“Through our calling company, we discovered certain specific challenges in Africa’s digital payment system. Payment channels are dispersed, and payment processes are time-consuming… And we could see that this issue was having a significant negative impact on our bottom line in terms of the conversion rate we were experiencing in Africa… It’s a challenge we’ve encountered and are attempting to tackle for other businesses with a presence on the continent by making the procedure quick and simple,” Hiine added.
“We’re building the platform to increase our conversion rate by giving the user a single checkout experience, and to some extent, offer predictive analysis — to tell the preferred methods of payment for that region and offer them as top options for the user,” said Hiine, who is also a co-founder of Brooklyn Ventures Africa, a VC firm that has invested in startups in the technology, media, and oil and gas sectors.
Last year, the Talk360 calling app connected 2 million individuals, and it is now paying subscribers in 170 countries. This number is expected to rise as the business ramps up its marketing efforts and development ambitions, which include establishing a base in Kenya.