Afrimalin is more than just a classified site startup. It is a company with unique vision. With its key focus on Francophone Africa (West and Central Africa), Afrimalin is poised to be the last and leading eCommerce group in the region.
Earlier this week, we reported that the company has raised EUR400,000 from French investors who believe in the vision that Francophone Africa deserves to have its own eCommerce platform that can support small and big businesses in the region.
In this exclusive interview with Mamadou Niane, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Afrimalin, he shared the vision and how the company plans to change the way people of Franchone West Africa do business.
What is Afrimalin?
Afrimalin www.afrimalin.com is a free classified website in French-speaking Africa, launched a month ago, on September 15th.
We already operate in 8 countries, representing 200 million people and 26 million Internet users: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mali, Republic of Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal.
A new player in Africa’s e-commerce, Afrimalin offers a free solution to directly connect local sellers and buyers. For many local sellers, Afrimalin is the first portal that gives them access to the online market. Therefore, the website is a relevant tool that drives growth for SMEs, local trader and craftsman who search for a new, fast and easy distribution channel.
In a few clicks, users can sell or buy thousands of products and get the best deal: phones, computers, televisions, cars, real estate, fashion, sports and beauty products, household appliances, etc. With the jobs offers category, Afrimalin also responds to the strong demand for a direct contact between the African labour market’s supply and demand.
What characterizes the offer Afrimalin?
Afrimalin is first characterized by its geographical focus. We have a clear positioning: French-speaking Africa. We believe that Francophone Africa is an extremely dynamic area that displays enormous potential. French is spoken in 21 African countries, representing 310 million inhabitants. One African out of three is francophone! Beyond that, West and Central African countries have specific needs and a desire to get the best services aligned with their consumer habits. Afrimalin was precisely developed to meet this demand.
Afrimalin is also managed by an African team who has a great knowledge of the digital market in Africa and its complexity.
By 2025, the Internet is expected to contribute 10% of Africa’s GDP, or 300 billion USD. Revenues related to e-commerce account for 75 billion USD annual but the continent’s share is still very low. The scope for growth is very high. The companies that will drive make the trends and be the market leaders are those which will succeed in providing a new user experience, fully adapted to the expectations of Africans. Afrimalin has this ambition, as our solution has been designed to be anchored in the lives of Africans.
Who do you target first?
Afrimalin is a solution for both individuals and professionals. We mainly target the 20-35 years belonging to what is called “the middle class”. This generation is well connected or even hyper-connected: it daily uses new technologies and sees them as tools to improve their lives. And internet access is still growing. In the 8 countries that we cover, the number of Internet users has multiplied by 3.5 between 2010 and 2014.
We also designed our solution to meet the growing needs of our SMEs and shopkeepers. The African private sector, formal and informal, is the foundation of our economies. Afrimalin assists many local businesses, which constitutes the bedrock of our dynamic private sector, in crossing for the first time the digital door. We provide support in posting their ads and selling online. Afrimalin allows them to increase their sales by providing a new distribution channel and a simple solution. It is a real acceleration lever for their activities and sales.
What are your future developments?
Only a month after Afrimalin’s launch, we have successfully completed a first closing of EUR 400,000. Several top investors have acquired shares in Afrimalin – including: the Milchior family, owner of the French group Etam; David Kalfon, head of the French Investment Fund Amaika Asset Management; Yannick Naud, a London-based financial expert. We closed our first round very rapidly – in only 3 days! It proves the market’s confidence in our solution and strategy.
Besides, we have already recorded almost 100,000 visitors per month, and have built a community of over 140,000 members on Facebook.
We also recruited new team talents. Afrimalin is run by a team of young African experts from the digital ecosystem. Management team is based both in Guinea and Senegal. New recruitments are soon planned in Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Benin.
The capital raised aims at supporting the rapid growth of Afrimalin. The funds will mainly be allocated to the development of a new website and a mobile application in 2017.
Meet Mamadou Niane
Mamadou Niane, 33, is co-founder and director of Afrimalin operations, an eCommerce group focused on Francophone Africa. This Senegalese entrepreneur is an experienced specialist in e-commerce and marketing. Talent of the digital economy, with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, he pursued a career in Senegal and accompanied the growth of international businesses.
Between 2014 to 2016, he managed the deployment Kaymu (jumia Group), the first marketplace in Senegal.