SA startup launched to help users buy electricity, airtime online

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Johannesburg-based startup AfriNova Digital has launched an online app that allows consumers to buy electricity and airtime online, without having to leave their homes.

AfriNova Digital, which builds digital products across many areas such as education and training, utilities, cities and municipalities, and retail, said its launch of digiToken was perfectly timed given the COVID-19 crisis. 

“Our focus is on delivering convenience where the masses of people in Africa live. This is either rural areas or informal settlements. We have also chosen to focus on the unbanked and digitally excluded market,” said Kagisho Dichabe, who co-founded AfriNova alongside Xolisa Vuza.

“We believe this is where great potential exists in terms of an untapped market as these are customers who traditionally never had access to any of these services. We are passionate about townships and rural areas as we both come from such an environment, and we believe there is a great opportunity to tell a real story in terms of contributing to people’s lives in areas of convenience and job creation.”

The self-funded company has a number of strategic partners it collaborates with to realise key parts of its product strategy, but is also in conversation with potential investors around expanding its offering. After a soft launch in mid-August, digiToken has picked up “some really exciting numbers” in terms of registrations and active users who are transacting on the platform. 

“Our focus has also been on the marketing and brand awareness side of things to ensure that we carry on the momentum as well as broadening of the product set to strengthen our value proposition of providing convenience in your pocket,” Dichabe said.

“Our sights are on the rest of Africa and some parts of Europe as the architecture of our platform is built to be scalable and extensible. We may look at engaging with potential partners for such an expansion.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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