South Africa’s Talk360 Secures $4 Million In Seed Financing

Talk360’s co-founders Hans Osnabrugge and Dean Hiine

Talk360, a South African startup looking to solve the challenges businesses face with setting up pan-African operations by offering a payment platform that will integrate all available payment options across Africa has raised $4 million in seed funding.

The funding round was led by HAVAIC and saw the participation of angel investors such as WorldPay International’s President Gabriel de Montessuss, Gaston Aussems, Robert Kraal and Marnix van der Ploeg.

With the funding, the startup plans to expand its offering across Africa and says its product will offer businesses an infinite number of localized payment options available in Africa.

Talk 360 is also looking to expand its international calling operations across the continent. According to co-founder and managing director for Africa Dean Hiine, the calling business in Africa will continue to experience growth. He also added that he anticipates growth for Talk360’s payment platform. He explained that the payment product will make it easy for international merchants to sell to African users too.

Founded in 2016 by Dean Hiine, Hans Osnabrugge, and Jorne Schamp, Talk360 was just a traveling app that people used to avoid roaming charges when they are in other countries. They, however, had to go over their strategy after internet calls arrived on platforms like WhatsApp.

They decided to include people who had had no access to the internet or were not on these social media platforms. What the founders did was to ensure that those at the end of the call do not need to have an internet connection or the Talk360 app. Thanks to partnerships the company shares with agents like PesaPoint in Kenya and Flash in South Africa, its users can also purchase airtime from over 750,000 points of sale. Talk360 is widely used in countries like South Africa, Bangladesh, and Zimbabwe.

The idea for payments came after the startup identified the need to make payment and checkout services easy for its users. “In our calling business, we identified some unique problems around digital payment in Africa. The payment methods are scattered and payment processes are lengthy…And we could see that this problem had a serious impact on our bottom line in terms of conversion rate we were seeing in Africa…It is a problem we experienced and we are trying to solve for other merchants with a presence in the continent too by making the process fast and easy,” Dean Hiine said.

For now, the startup is integrating with older payment service providers with geographical or region-based limitations. Co-founder Dean Hiine says that all of these payment service providers will be brought together on a common platform and that this would be beneficial for both the startup and business users of the platform. “We are building the platform to actually increase our conversion rate by giving the user experience one single checkout, and to some level, offer predictive analysis– to tell the preferred methods of payment for that region and offer them as top options for the user,” Dean Hiine explained.

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