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    HomeEcosystem NewsIvory Coast Ecommerce Startup Afrikrea Shuts Down After 8 Years In Business

    Ivory Coast Ecommerce Startup Afrikrea Shuts Down After 8 Years In Business

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    Afrikrea, a pioneering Ivorian e-commerce startup hailed for its innovative approach to promoting African culture and fashion on the global stage, has announced its closure, surprising many in the tech and business communities. The shutdown comes amidst a backdrop of significant fundraising efforts and expansion plans that once signaled a promising future for the company.

    Founded in 2016 by Moulaye Taboure, Kadry Diallo, and Luc B. Perussault Diallo, Afrikrea quickly gained traction as a marketplace for African-made fashion, art, and fabrics. Based in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, the startup boasted ambitious goals of bridging the gap between African artisans and global consumers.

    In 2020, Afrikrea made headlines by securing a $1 million investment towards its expansion endeavors. The funding, led by the Africa-focused VC fund Saviu.vc, aimed to bolster the startup’s marketplace infrastructure, hire more talent, and facilitate the export of Africa’s rich cultural heritage to a global audience.

    With a mission to empower African entrepreneurs and celebrate the continent’s creativity, Afrikrea surged forward, amassing over $50 million in sales across over 6,000 shops spanning 101 countries. The platform prided itself on providing sellers with tools and insights to grow their businesses, while enabling seamless transactions and global shipping through partnerships with industry giants like DHL.

    In May 2021, Afrikrea unveiled ANKA, an all-in-one SaaS solution designed to streamline e-commerce operations for micro-retailers across Africa and beyond. ANKA aimed to simplify online selling, payment processing, and international shipping, further cementing Afrikrea’s position as a key player in the burgeoning African e-commerce landscape.

    Despite its initial successes and continued growth, Afrikrea faced challenges on its journey. In 2022, the company rebranded to ANKA, reflecting its broader vision of supporting diverse industries beyond fashion. The rebrand coincided with a $6.2 million pre-Series A round, signaling investor confidence in the platform’s potential.

    However, despite securing an additional $5 million investment from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Proparco, and the French Public Investment Bank last September, Afrikrea ultimately succumbed to market pressures. The reasons behind the sudden closure remain undisclosed, leaving stakeholders and users alike bewildered by the announcement.

    Charles Rapulu Udoh is a Lagos-based lawyer, who has several years of experience working in Africa’s burgeoning tech startup industry. He has closed multi-million dollar deals bordering on venture capital, private equity, intellectual property (trademark, patent or design, etc.), mergers and acquisitions, in countries such as in the Delaware, New York, UK, Singapore, British Virgin Islands, South Africa, Nigeria etc. He’s also a corporate governance and cross-border data privacy and tax expert. As an award-winning writer and researcher, he is passionate about telling the African startup story, and is one of the continent’s pioneers in this regard.

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