DHL invests in MallforAfrica, Zipline launches in US, Novastar raises $200M


Events in May offered support to the thesis that Africa can incubate tech with global application.

Two startups that developed their business models on the continent — MallforAfrica and Zipline  — were tapped by international interests.

DHL  acquired a minority stake in Link Commerce, a turn-key e-commerce company that grew out of MallforAfrica.com — a Nigerian digital-retail startup.

Link Commerce  offers a white-label solution for doing online-sales in emerging markets.

Retailers can plug into the company’s platform to create a web-based storefront that manages payments and logistics.

Nigerian Chris Folayan  founded MallforAfrica in 2011 to bridge a gap in supply and demand for the continent’s consumer markets. While living in the U.S., Folayan noted a common practice among Africans — that of giving lists of goods to family members abroad to buy and bring home.

With MallforAfrica Folayan aimed to allow people on the continent to purchase goods from global retailers directly online.

The e-commerce site went on to onboard over 250 global retailers and now employs 30 people at order processing facilities in Oregon and the UK.

Folayan has elevated Link Commerce now as the lead company above MallforAfrica.com. He and DHL plan to extend the platform to emerging markets around the world and offer it to companies who want to wrap an online stores, payments and logistics solution around their core business

“Right now the focus is on Africa…but we’re taking this global,” Folayan said.

 SOURCE: Techcrunch by Jake Bright