Wowzi, an influencer marketing platform, has announced it has successfully closed a $2 million seed round that will see it scale its platform across the African continent. The round was led by 4DX Ventures with participation from To.org, Golden Palm Investments, LoftyInc Capital, Afropreneur Angels, and Future Africa.
Andela co-founder Christina Sass and alumni Jessica Chervin, Justin Ziegler, and Johnny Falla participated as well. The $2 million seed round comes after a previously unannounced $1.2 million pre-seed round, bringing the total amount raised to date to $3.2 million.
Wowzi describes itself as an online marketplace that democratises influence, connecting everyday social media users with big brands, enabling nano and micro creators to earn money by spreading brand messages via social media.
In its first 18 months of operation, the company says it has on-boarded 70,000 influencers across Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, primarily through word of mouth.
The company says it plans to use the new funding to scale partnerships with local, regional, and multinational FMCG companies, Telcos, Banks, Creative Agencies and Development Institutions to create dignified digital economy jobs for African youth.
The company says it is committed to returning as much value as possible to creators. It says nearly 90% of its weekly payouts are distributed to thousands of micro and nano creators. The company claims this opposes the trend of most creator platforms today, where a few celebrity personalities at the top take home the lion’s share of total earnings, making it impossible for emerging talent to break through.
Wowzi says it believes that everyone has influenced that distributing jobs to thousands of everyday messengers is the future of marketing, because it uncovers unlikely storytellers and creative voices that tap into the zeitgeist of culture.
Comments from Wowzi Co-Founders and 4DX Ventures:
Wowzi Co-Founder and CEO Brian Mogeni said, “Mobile use has become a key driver of commerce in African markets, and it’s where young people already spend their time. Young people only require lightweight remote training to master the key principles of sharing brand messages, so suddenly anyone with a phone can influence their peers through social media. Now that Wowzi has created the technology platform to efficiently distribute and manage job offers to thousands of youth at a time, brands have an opportunity to engage directly with youth and offer meaningful gig work. Wowzi offers a new layer of advertising for brands that can help target niche communities.” Mogeni added, “This new layer of advertising plays into emerging trends of decentralized social networks, creating creators who think of themselves as media entrepreneurs. Furthermore, we are building the world’s best technology that can scale globally to meet the evolving needs of users and brands.”
Wowzi Co-Founder Mike Otieno added, ”GenZ African creators influence decision purchasing amongst peers through unique online and offline communities, and Wowzi is creating a marketplace that assigns value to creativity. That hasn’t been done before on the African continent at scale. Our mission is to connect capacity to opportunity, and that’s precisely what the platform does for emerging creators. We set an ambitious goal of creating 1 million jobs for African youth, and already this year we’ve delivered nearly 200,000 such paid gigs.”
4DX Ventures Co-Founder and General Partner Peter Orth said, “We believe that Wowzi has the potential to transform the way advertising is done in Africa and beyond. The ROI their platform delivers to brands is an order of magnitude better than traditional advertising campaigns, and while delivering this impact they are also creating a large number of jobs for an emerging class of digital influencers. We’re very excited to partner with Wowzi to help them deliver on their big vision.”