Maka, an African fashion and beauty e-commerce platform, has closed a $2.65 million pre-seed investment led by 4DX Ventures and Janngo Capital.

Also participating in the round were Palm Drive Capital, angel investor Jonathan Shipman, founder of EVP and Twitch founding member, and executives from delivery platform Wolt.

Maka will use the funds to expand its team and operational development, enhance its technology, and deepen its presence in Ghana and Nigeria.

Founded in 2021 by Diana Owusu-Kyereko, MAKA is a community commerce platform for fashion and beauty, enabling everyone to discover their style and feel represented.

Since its inception, Maka says it has accrued more than 500,000 downloads which it got via its initial model of engaging with creators through live sessions. However, from its user-generated content model launched two months ago, the two-year-old startup has seen over 2,000 reviews created.

Owusu claimed that out of all the buying techniques she had investigated, Instagram stood out as the “Wild Wild West,” where one never knows what they will get, payment in advance is sometimes necessary, and return or refund alternatives are few. Traditional markets, on the other hand, could be stressful even if they provide a personal touch, which makes personal shoppers necessary. Payment and logistical issues were another problem with online buying from stores like ASOS and Shein.

“In all, it was quite complex and complicated for the user. And so I saw that you had a problem with trust in the buying process. People had their horror stories about buying online. Then the other thing was that this aggregation of everybody’s needs in one place was also not there. And that’s what sparked Maka,” the founder and CEO said. “So at first, it was like COVID, and being unable to travel to buy stuff felt like a me-problem. And then, like, doing interviews and surveys in the market and realizing that this is a wider challenge for consumers than I thought.”

Fatoumata Bâ, founder and executive chair of Janngo Capital said her firm was attracted to Maka’s vision of leveraging technology to empower both consumers and creators, cementing the startup’s position at the forefront of the junction between e-commerce, creative and cultural industries across Africa.

“These three sectors are jointly poised to grow by 4x by 2050 and generate up to $200 billion GDP while creating 184 million jobs,” she noted. “We are proud to lead this funding round to help unlock a potential of massive growth and impact on the continent.”

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