In an oversubscribed early investment round, Cape Town-based hybrid hardware-software firm Qwili secured US $1.2 million to support the launch of their inexpensive NFC smartphone.
An NFC-capable smartphone and an online marketplace make up the hybrid hardware-software package known as Qwili. With the help of its software, users may offer value-added services to their friends, neighbours, and communities, including data, power, pay-TV subscriptions, food, apparel, and much more, using their phones as point-of-sale devices.
Strat-Tech, Next Chymia, and Untapped Global were among the funds and angel investors who participated in the investment round organized by the entrepreneur-focused VC company E4E Africa. The funding will be utilized to create hardware, new hiring, and app development.
“We are passionate about expanding access to digital goods and services. Achieving this does not only lie in new innovations and technologies but also applying existing tech in appropriate ways that reach and benefit more people,” said Luyolo Sijake, Qwili co-founder and CEO.
“This understanding, coupled with rapid iteration and a market insights-led approach to product development, allowed us to find an offering that the market is embracing and we believe can hasten the speed of digital inclusion across the continent. So, we are delighted to have received this backing from the investors who participated in this round. It allows us to work refining our product and scaling the business towards realising our vision.”
The increase has supported Qwili’s current effect and enabled key team growth and enhancement of its development skills, the launch of new product lines, and a stronger emphasis on R&D in the company’s hardware division.
“We believe that Qwili is both highly scalable and high impact. Qwili agents love the entrepreneurial opportunity that Qwili provides them while giving their community access to e-commerce and to fairly priced goods and services,” said Bastiaan Hochstenbach, co-founder and managing partner at E4E Africa.
“Qwili’s founding team is exceptional, and the business model is a strong fit with E4E Africa’s aspiration to support diverse founders in creating a thriving, innovative and inclusive Africa.”