Kenyan conversational e-commerce startup Elloe acquires Flo by Saada

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Kenya’s Elloe, a conversational e-commerce startup, has acquired counterpart Flo by Saada for an undisclosed sum to help it scale operations and move into new 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 startup raised a US$1 million pre-seed funding round in April, and has now acquired Flo by Saada, whose team will join Elloe’s product and engineering group in Kenya as the company incorporates the technology to complement its existing portfolio of messaging services with a packaged, AI-driven offering.

Launched in 2019 by Gerishon Mwaniki, Flo by Saada’s technology enables SMEs to build conversational commerce solutions and process payments over USSD, programmable SMS, Voice (IVR), and WhatsApp Business. Customers include Telkom Kenya, Quick Bus, Oxfam, and others in retail, entertainment, hospitality, and travel.

With the acquisition, Elloe will be able to accelerate its next phase of business growth by scaling operations for its corporate clients and expanding its footprint beyond its current operations in Kenya and the Philippines.

“The addition of Flo by Saada technology fits perfectly into Elloe’s strategy and is a natural extension of Elloe’s offerings. It transforms customer interactions from simple communications to conversations across the spectrum of customer engagement points,” Sakawa said.

“With our conversational commerce capabilities, we are meeting new and existing customer needs now and are positioned to continue to meet their evolving needs well into the future, providing businesses with embedded commerce capabilities to simplify the way they serve, connect with, and sell to their own customers from anywhere, on any channel.”

Mwaniki said Flo by Saada was built with a mission to help businesses respond to the increasing use of instant messaging as the most preferred mode of communication, both for connecting with family and friends and for receiving immediate, personal, and attentive experiences from brands.

“We are excited to be joining the Elloe team. Combining our market-leading technologies presents an opportunity to create new, amazing customer experiences,” he 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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