Leusden, the Netherlands-headquartered Talk360, an international calling app that helps people make reliable and affordable calls to any landline or mobile phone worldwide, announced on Wednesday that it has secured $4M (approximately €3.73M) in a Seed round of funding.
The company is now preparing to expand its footprint and launch a new pan-African payment platform in mid-2022.
Investors in this round
Ian Lessem, managing partner at HAVAÍC, says, “With HAVAÍC’s experience, networks and complementary investments in Africa, we are excited about the prospects of Talk360. We believe the business will not only continue on a path of exponential customer acquisition but is well on its way to leveraging this growth by offering other complementary technology-enabled products to its growing customer base.”
The round also saw participation from prominent fintech angel investors such as Gaston Aussems, ex-Mollie; Robert Kraal, ex-Adyen; Gabriel de Montessuss, President of WorldPay International; and Marnix van der Ploeg, ex-Booking.com and EQT.
Gaston Aussems says “Through the calling app, Talk360 has already connected many people and is consistently improving the lives of its customers. With 60 per cent of the population under the age of 25, there is huge potential for mobile digital services. The new payment platform will make it possible for providers to offer their services across the continent and to offer a suitable payment option for every consumer.”
“Connecting lives – Bridging distance”
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.
In a statement, the company says that 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 new 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.
With offices in South Africa, The Netherlands, India, and Nigeria, the company claims to have connected more than 2 million people in 2021.
Co-founder Dean Hiine says, “From the start, our mission was to bridge distance and connect lives by offering reliable, affordable, and easy-to-use digital services, delivered in a localised manner to all communities, particularly emerging countries, so they can connect to the world.”
“The Talk360 app is now the number one calling app in Africa, independent of users’ currency or preferred way of payment. Thanks to our more than 750K physical points of sale and ability to support mobile wallets, our reach goes beyond the traditional credit and debit card support that international companies usually use. We now have enough traction to attract internationally renowned investors to expand our footprint and allow other companies to use our unique single checkout payment platform for all of Africa,” adds Hiine.
Talk360 also aims to accelerate its mission to create jobs and reduce unemployment in the communities which it serves through its rapidly growing agent network.
“By creating jobs and micro-entrepreneurship opportunities within different communities, we learned how we can help African consumers and businesses connect with their loved ones,” says co-founder Osnabrugge.