Zambian venture capital investor Kukula Capital and eVentures Africa Fund (eVA Fund) have announced a US$500,000 investment in Dot Com Zambia, to enable the e-commerce store to expand its activities around Southern Africa.
Under the agreement, Kukula will initially jointly invest US$500,000 in Dot Com Zambia structured as a combination of debt and equity.
The investment will enable Dot Com Zambia to grow its existing e-commerce business and roll out its proprietary digital bus ticketing system, Bus Tickets Zambia – which was named 2015 New Venture Winner at the 17th Annual Africa Business Conference earlier this year.
The startup also plans to leverage Kukula’s and eVA’s networks to begin further piloting across the Southern African region.
“Dot Com Zambia is led by one of the most inspiring young entrepreneurs we’ve met and the organization fits with eVA’s mandate to build world-class technology platforms for Africa,” said Vincent Kouwenhoven, managing director (MD) of eVA Fund.
“While many more of today’s investors are looking for investment opportunities like Dot Com Zambia in the ‘major markets’, in Nigeria and Kenya, we are the first tech fund investing in this space in Zambia. And we believe with this investment, a Zambian tech-entrepreneur can set the example for his country, for the Southern Region of Africa, and one day maybe, for the whole of Africa.”
Dot Com Zambia was initially launched as a personal shopping and shipping business for customers in Zambia who wanted to shop online for American products that were difficult to find in Zambian stores, and products that US online retailers don’t offer directly to most African consumers because of troublesome customs duties and paperwork, shipping costs and the fear of fraud.
The company now has two subsidiaries, e-commerce store Import Zambia, and Book Now Zambia, which includes the Bus Tickets Zambia brand.
“This is the ultimate dream come true for any entrepreneur, With eVA and Kukula on board, Dot Com Zambia has the expertise and financial muscle that will allow us to enhance our operations and grow faster to create value for our clients and the Zambian economy,” said Mawano Kambeu, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Dot Com Zambia.
Kukula Capital claims to be the only locally domiciled VC firm in Zambia, and Dot Com Zambia becomes its seventh investment into a Zambian SME since its inception in 2010.
“Dot Com Zambia is a clear strengthening of Kukula’s portfolio. What excites me about the transaction is that we are investing in a company that has the potential to scale rapidly on the basis of leading technology,” said Tue Nyboe Andersen, MD of Kukula Capital.
The investors said the co-investment seeks to combine Kukula’s local presence and operational expertise with eVA’s experience in building successful technology ventures.