Kenyan startup Wowzi has developed an online marketplace that “democratises influence”, connecting everyday social media users with big brands, and enabling nano and micro creators to earn money by spreading brand messages via social media.
Launched in 2020 by Brian Mogeni, Mike Otieno and Dr Hassan Bashir, Wowzi has built a self-serve online platform that allows brands of any size or industry to create and manage massive, distributed messaging campaigns utilising thousands of real, everyday customers and fans who get paid to offer authentic endorsements online for the products they already love.
“Every day, we are helping emerging creators monetise their social media presence through micro jobs or gigs online commissioned by brands,” Mogeni told Disrupt Africa.
“Wowzi is building and grooming trusted influencer networks and organising niche communities online and offline, offering brands the most powerful targeting platform available in emerging markets.”
The startup verifies the identity and authenticity of social media users, and continuously learns about these individuals and how they connect with niche audiences. It and then catalogues those communities and makes them available to brands as outreach assets.
“Going far beyond AI-matching tools, our end to end managed service for automating massive influencer campaigns offers a new layer of marketing for brands at a scale that’s never been possible before,” Mogeni said.
All-encompassing, and extremely popular, with brands like Netflix, Safaricom, Diageo, Coca-Cola, P&G and Absa Bank using Wowzi to design campaigns involving 5,000 or more people at a time. Whereas previously brands could only engage a few dozen celebrity personalities to vouch for them on social channels, and struggled with things like setting pricing, contracting, talent management, job fulfillment, and understanding ROI, Wowzi helps with all of that.
The startup has so far onboarded 70,000 influencers across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, primarily through word of mouth, and late last year it banked a US$2 million seed round to help it boost marketing efforts to scale further. Led by 4DX Ventures, with participation from To.org, Golden Palm Investments, LoftyInc Capital, Afropreneur Angels, and Future Africa, the round took the total amount of funding raised by Wowzi to date to US$3.2 million.