Amsterdam-based Talk360, an international calling app that helps make reliable and affordable calls to any landline or mobile phone worldwide, announced on Monday, October 3, that it has raised an additional $3M (nearly €3M) in a Seed round of funding.
Prior to this, the company had secured $4M (then, nearly €3.73M) in a Seed round in June 2022. This brings Talk360’s total secured Seed funding to $7M (approximately €7.13M).
The investment comes from new VCs such as Kalon Venture Partners, E4E Africa, Allan Gray E2 Ventures (AGEV), Endeavor, and HAVAÍC, and angel investors in the form of the founders of TymeBank, one of Africa’s fastest growing neo-banks.
“Call any landline or mobile number”
Co-founded in 2016 by South African venture builder Dean Hiine, and Dutch entrepreneurs Hans Osnabrugge and Jorne Schamp, Talk360 aims to fix the connectivity issue of apps that rely heavily on an internet connection. The company’s app can be used to place international calls on any mobile phone or landline worldwide and works even if the receiver doesn’t have an internet connection.
Talk360 also aims to become the world’s first single checkout platform combining all local currencies and payment methods for all underserved communities. According to the company, its app has witnessed rapid growth as the number of paying users grew, however, accessibility has been an issue for the 500 million underserviced people. Users either don’t have online banking to buy Talk360 airtime or their local currencies or payment methods are simply not supported.
The payment platform aims to address this continued issue of inaccessibility by providing users with the option to buy products and services using any currency and more than 160 payment methods. It will also be open to other service providers.
Currently, 41 per cent of the world’s population lacks internet connection, particularly the underprivileged communities in developing nations, who lack the requisite infrastructure. Talk360 says it bridges these worlds. In 2022 alone, Talk360 has connected 2.3 million people worldwide.
With offices in South Africa, The Netherlands, India, and Nigeria, the company also looks to accelerate its mission to create jobs and reduce unemployment in the communities it serves through its growing agent network.
Growth in numbers and social impact
Co-founder Jorne Schamp says, “Our mission is to build connected lives & bridge distances, with a special focus on Africa. By enabling reliable, affordable and user-friendly digital services that are equal and available to everyone in the world. In doing so, we not only solve socio-economic problems but also create a new form of employment for Africans through the Talk360 agent model. This model creates micro-entrepreneurship for so-called agents, who can earn money by connecting local customers to our calling app.”
Schamp adds, “We offer local residents the opportunity to come and work for us. They can join our growing network of Talk360 agents across Africa. Such an agent is part of our local customer service, which independently brings in new customers and, for example, helps with installing and upgrading our app. This allows them to generate income and we also contribute to fighting unemployment in Africa.”
Talk360 claims to have already connected 33 per cent more agents than last year, resulting in a growth of 800 per cent more customers using the calling app.
Talk360 says the raised capital will help the company to expand its market share in Africa, launch its pan-African payment platform, and create more employment opportunities.
According to co-founder Jorne Schamp, Talk360 has tripled its workforce globally, with additional jobs becoming available in Amsterdam, Johannesburg, and also remotely across Africa. “With the new additional funding, we can continue to expand our reach and make a positive impact on society worldwide,” adds Schamp.
Talk360 thinks that everyone, regardless of background, should be able to purchase and access dependable communications and digital services. Particularly those in developing nations like Africa, who frequently require these services the most. To carry out their mission, this is essential.
For instance, Osnabrugge and Schamp anticipate that Talk360’s development would be accelerated once the pan-African payment platform is launched. Customers from all around the African continent will be able to make purchases using more than 160 different payment methods and any of the region’s currencies. Other merchants will be allowed access to the payment platform, allowing them to sell their goods on the African market as a consequence.
Currently, the Talk360 calling app includes the payment infrastructure, but it will be developed further and ready for a global debut in 2023 in the following months. Talk360 has increased its connections with regional African financial solutions like Kazang and Blu-voucher, adding six additional currencies to the platform this year alone, and including particular African payment methods like OTT vouchers.