“Technobrities” Series: Sim Shagaya of KONGA

Konga was founded in July 2012 by Sim Shagaya, with 20 staff. Shortly after launching in 2012, Konga raised a $3.5 million seed round from Investment AB Kinnevik. The site initially functioned as a Lagos-only online retailer focused on merchandise in the Baby, Beauty, and Personal Care categories, but broadened its scope to all of Nigeria in December 2012 and gradually expanded merchandise categories through 2012 and 2013.

In early 2013, Konga raised a $10 million Series A round from Investment AB Kinnevik and Naspers. In Q2 2013, Konga beta-tested ‘Konga Mall,’ opening up the Konga platform to third-party retailers and moving away from a pure first-party online retail model.In late 2013, Konga finalized a $25 million Series B round from previous investors, Investment AB Kinnevik and Naspers, the largest single round raised by a single African startup at the time. On November 29, 2013, Konga.com crashed and remained offline for 45 minutes as a result of unprecedented traffic stemming from its Black Friday promotion. Konga sold more during the first six hours of the promotion than it did in the prior month.

Konga officially launched its third-party retail platform in the first half of 2014, rebranding it as ‘Marketplace’ from ‘Konga Mall’; by the end of 2014, Konga’s Marketplace featured 8,000 merchants, beating internal targets of 1,000 merchants eight-fold. Konga received USD $3.5 million worth of orders during its 2014 Black Friday promotion, compared to USD $300,000 during the promotion in the previous year. Konga reportedly grew 2014 revenue 450% from 2013. In late 2014, Konga finalized a $40 million Series C round from Investment AB Kinnevik and Naspers, the largest single round raised by a single African startup to date. Despite reports that Naspers acquired 50% of Konga in 2013, publicly-traded Naspers disclosed that its stake in Konga after the October 2014 Series C investment was 40.22%. Konga was reportedly valued at approximately $200 million as of the Series C.

In January 2015, Konga was ranked as the most visited Nigerian website by Alexa Internet. According to CEO Sim Shagaya, Konga “leads the field in Nigeria today [early 2015] in Gross Merchandise Value,” a metric measuring the total value of merchandise sold through a particular marketplace.

Konga announced it acquired the assets and mobile money license of Zinternet Nigeria Limited in June 2015, thereby meeting the Central Bank of Nigeria’s legal requirement for the provision of mobile payment services. The acquisition will support KongaPay, also announced in 2015, Konga’s solution to facilitate uptake of cashless electronic payments.

For facilitating e-commerce in Africa. Having raised around $100 million in investment since it launched in 2012, Konga has the potential to become an African e-commerce behemoth. But that’s not exactly what founder Sim Shagaya has in mind. “We don’t want to be Goliath,” he says. “We think the future in Africa belongs to a small army of Davids.” Konga, in other words, doesn’t want to be another e-commerce company, but enable other businesses to do e-commerce. Since opening up Konga Marketplace to small- and medium-size businesses via its SellerHQ marketplace in 2014, more than 10,000 traders have registered on the site. Konga, whose revenue grew 450% from 2013 to 2014, also launched its private logistics company KExpress last year, after its third-party courier partners were unable to cope with the thousands of daily orders the site generated. In its own version of Black Friday, dubbed “Yakata,” sales passed $3.5 million, up 1,440% from its inaugural year of 2013. Konga plans to begin expanding into other sub-Saharan African countries in 2015, and raised more than $40 million in its latest financing round in October.

Curled from Wikipedia…