Qwili To Expand To Botswana Following $1.2 Million Seed Round

South African fintech startup Qwili, which recently secured a $1.2 million seed round, plans to expand its product offering- a low-cost Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled smartphone called the Qwili Pula, to Botswana.

The smartphone allows merchants to send and receive payments and its software is available as an app for any smartphone or as an automatic installation on Qwili phones, which range in price from $60 to $70 (≈ P750.00 to P870.00).

Qwili claims its devices can be converted into Point of Sale (PoS)devices, allowing merchants to sell value-added services like data and pay TV subscriptions, groceries, and clothing to their customers.

Its typical customer is a seller without a physical store who sells digital products to local communities and networks informally.

Previously, the startup used a business-to-customer model where Qwili sold these devices to individual users who purchased value-added services through the platform’s digital wallet.

However, that model was unsuccessful because the phone did not pay off quickly enough, and digital services were not adopted as expected.

But the company noticed people were selling the device and software to others rather than purchasing services for themselves. Consequently, Qwili switched from a B2C to a B2B model. 

Currently, the platform is used by 500 micro and small merchants and processes $75,000 in monthly Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV).

The startup also recorded a 300% increase in turnover from Q1 to Q2 of 2022 and after plans of expanding into Botswana materialize, it plans to increase those numbers to $1 million from 3,000 merchants by the end of the year.

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