OkHi, a Kenyan-based smart addressing startup, has launched in Nigeria, with $1.5 million funding from Interswitch Group, Founders Factory Africa and Asian VC, Betatron.
The Nairobi-based company tackles a problem that costs Nigerian businesses an estimated $2 billion a year due to the lack of postal addressing infrastructure.
The announcement stems from a new investment round that will accelerate the company’s growth following its success in Kenya.
The investment from one of Africa’s largest fintech & digital commerce companies, Interswitch, provides OkHi with a key strategic partner for its Nigerian expansion.
OkHi which was founded in 2014, has also been accepted by Google Immersion and Facebook Commerce, two highly competitive accelerators that position them for rapid scale.
OkHi is on a mission to enable the four billion people without a physical address to be included. In Nigeria, the lack of addressing is a painful problem for the entire economy.
Last-mile delivery businesses call their customers on average over three times to find their doors.
Banks must send agents to verify prospective customer addresses – limiting access to financial services. Emergency services get lost, leading to lost lives. It is why OkHi believes an address is a human right.
OkHi’s smart address is a GPS pin linked to a person’s name and phone number. Their approach is to enable any business to collect an accurate address, deliver to it without getting lost, and continuously verify it.
The launch in Nigeria follows success in Kenya, where OkHi is reducing the cost of delivery by 20 percent and reducing delivery times by 40 per cent.
The company’s new address verification engine continuously verifies the location, a first of its kind – reducing time, cost and risk.
The partnership with Interswitch, one of Africa’s biggest fintech success stories, means OkHi will roll out its smart addressing system across the country.
Its technology aims to give all 195 million Nigerians an address, boosting e-commerce and unlocking financial inclusion, while accelerating innovation across the economy.
OkHi’s CEO and co-founder, Timbo Drayson, formerly launched Google Maps across EMEA.
He says: “OkHi gives addresses not only to places, but also to people. From e-commerce businesses, to banks and emergency services, our technology enables people to be included in accessing services they need and deserve.
“We are so excited about the start of our Nigerian journey. With Interswitch, we have a partner and investor whose technology has already had a massive impact on millions of Nigerians.
“Their expertise and infrastructure will position us to scale country-wide as quickly as possible.
“Covid-19 is accelerating the digital migration across Africa – people and businesses are more online than ever, while home deliveries have grown exponentially. What’s exciting is we are the infrastructure that enables that migration.”
Interswitch Group’s Divisional Chief Executive Officer for Industry Vertical Markets, Jonah Adams remarks on the essence of the partnership with OkHi “Our partnership with, and investment into OkHi is premised on their vision and capacity to execute collaboratively, to drive e-commerce growth across key African markets by mitigating the bottlenecks which are stifling growth.
“Whilst digital payments remain our key focus, we see the bigger picture, identifying opportunities to unlock significant economic value though trusted address verification.”
OkHi’s prominent early Nigerian customers include Okra, Kuda Bank, and Zedvance.
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