Kenyan AI-powered conversational e-commerce startup Elloe raises $1m pre-seed round


Kenya’s Elloe, a conversational e-commerce startup, has raised US$1 million in pre-seed capital as it bids to expand across emerging markets.

Founded by Owen Sakawa, Elloe is a first-of-its-kind AI-powered, conversational commerce platform which allows SMEs to buy and sell products online across any messaging platform.  

The US$1 million pre-seed funding round is led by the Philippines-based Mad Ventures, and will help Elloe expand across Kenya and other emerging markets.

“We are very excited and humbled by the opportunity to partner with Mad Ventures and join its growing livelihood ecosystem as digital ambassadors to local Kenyan entrepreneurs. The new funds will give us sufficient runway to grow our local Kenyan operations and fuel expansion into the Philippine and Southeast Asian markets well into 2023 and beyond,” Sakawa said. 

“Mad Ventures continues to make major progress in delivering digital livelihood options to the unemployed and unbanked, in response to the demands of businesses and consumers in emerging countries. We are thrilled to be joining Elloe to broaden our collective reach and assist businesses, particularly underserved micro-SMEs, in realising their full potential,” said Mad Ventures CEO Aaron Madolara. 


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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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