Nigerian gifting startup Showlove raises $300k pre-seed funding

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Nigerian social platform for gifting Showlove has closed a US$300,000 pre-seed funding round as it goes live with the first version of its product.

Founded in 2020 by Chikodi Ukaiwe, Joshua Biyere and Seye Bandele, Showlove is simplifying the process of requesting, giving and receiving gifts and cash, while also helping African businesses promote their services and deals.

The startup aims to create a fun community, or a social network of sorts, for people to share their wants and needs, either with a closed circle of people or the general public. In addition, thousands of vendors, SMEs and hypermarkets are plugged in via APIs.

Showlove launched its public beta in December 2020, letting users purchase electronic gift vouchers for their loved ones from various Nigerian businesses, and has now gone live with a full version of its product, which allows people to buy gifts and deals, compile and share Wishlists, and send or receive cash, all of which is backed by a digital wallet.

At the same time, it has announced a US$300,000 pre-seed funding round, raised from Fedha Capital and other angel investors. Ukaiwe, once of Jumia and Konga, said the startup was solving a “peculiar problem”.

“In our personal lives we have experienced difficulty knowing exactly what people want when we want to share gifts with them randomly or on their special occasions. There is no real way to know exactly what a person wants without having to ask them directly, which ruins the whole experience,” he said.

Using Showlove’s Wishlist feature, users can compile a list of gifts from anywhere on the internet, and share with their friends and family — either directly or via integration with other social media. People can then either contribute towards the purchase of the gift, or give them the total sum. 

“Before now people were paying for gifts using debit cards, USSD and bank transfers. Now we are introducing a wallet that really simplifies that process, you can basically pay for anything or accept payments with your wallet. And if buying gifts isn’t your cup of tea, you can send cash to your friends at zero cost,” Ukaiwe said.

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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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