Cameroonian startup Koree, a consumer app that acts as a digital wallet for loyalty cards, is planning to expand across Francophone Africa with the help of matching funding from Catalytic Africa.
Founded in September 2022, Koree allows consumers to digitally collect their spare change from cash retail payment roundups, and earn cashback from stores and brands across multiple categories.
The startup recently received a EUR20,000 (US$22,000) from Cameroon Angels Network (CAN), unlocking a 3X matching investment of EUR60,000 (US$66,000) from Catalytic Africa, the co-investment fund established in 2019 by the African Business Angels Network (ABAN) and AfriLabs.
“The coins and low value bills scarcity in French-speaking countries in Sub-Saharan Africa has been ongoing for over a decade, slowing the velocity of retailers’ transactions,” Koree founder Magalie Gauze-Sanga told Disrupt Africa.
“Either merchants have to buy spare change on the black market for a high fee, transactions are distorted with unnecessary goodies, or transactions are aborted because merchants don’t have the necessary change that needs to be returned to customers. This issue is particularly affecting low value transactions which are mostly common among lower income populations. In the inflationary environment in which we live, unevenly rising prices inevitably reduce the purchasing power of consumers. It is all the more true in FSSA where consumers have one of the lowest purchasing power in the world.”
Koree has developed a product that lets merchants handle payments in cash, which represents 85 per cent of offline merchant transactions in the region. Koree is used by 10,000 users and 40 store partners, and has processed approximately 30,000 transactions worth over US$200,000 since inception.
“Our product also helps consumers earn money off all of their purchases whether they are paid via cash, mobile money or bank card,” Gauze-Sanga said.
Having bootstrapped the development of its product until landing its first clients, Koree is now funded by CAN and Catalytic. It is raising a wider pre-seed round as well.
Though currently only operating in Douala, Cameroon, Koree has expansion goals after securing investment.
“We plan on expanding throughout Cameroon and in other markets of the FSSA such as Ivory Coast, Senegal, and the DRC,” said Gauze-Sanga.