NAMIBIA – The Namibia Business Angel Network (Naban) has announced that it will invest N$250,000 (US$16,789) in the Namibian e-commerce platform Tololi to improve its digital infrastructure, grow the team, and increase marketing activities.
This is the network’s first investment since its inception and follow’s Tololi’s founder Fillemon Nangolo’s participation in a Naban pitch event in June 2021, which piqued the interest of investors.
After conducting the due diligence process over several months, the network decided to invest in the young company.
Tololi Online Store is an online marketplace and sourcing company, tailored for a convenient online shopping experience. The Tololi prototype was launched on 27 March 2020, and the team is currently busy preparing the official launch for the end of March 2022.
Reacting to the announcement, Nangolo said seed stage investments in Namibia are so important, yet still very rare.
“Throughout the past two years, I’ve been solely bootstrapping to be able to work on our e-commerce platform – that meant I could only move at a slow pace,” he said.
“I’m now finally able to recruit new team members, work on the logistics and form strategic partnerships.
“Besides the money, we have benefited from this investment by having three experienced advisers at our side, who are helping with strategy and business development and are adding to the total years of experience of the team.”
He added that the plan is to keep on raising funds throughout the rest of this year, while simultaneously developing the business.
“It took me almost a whole year to be able to secure funds, which was a challenge. However, building a business is all about solving the problems that bring about these challenges,” said Nangolo.
The entrepreneur added that he has been lucky enough to be mentored by Dololo Do-Box, Start-up Namibia and Launch Namibia, and said looking outside the country is also a viable option.
“We were also active in the start-up ecosystem outside of Namibia, mostly in South Africa. The funding puts us in a better position to be competitive, also in bigger markets,” he said.
“With that said, we look forward to an extremely productive year as we kick off the work with our Naban investors and introduce to you Namibia’s first official online marketplace.”
Naban founding member Jesaya Hano-Oshike said early-stage businesses in Namibia often find it difficult to acquire funding.
“Naban aims to provide a platform for Namibian angel investors who have the risk appetite to invest in Namibian early-stage businesses,” Hano-Oshike said.
“These investments will provide high yielding returns for them in the long run as well as create a pipeline for venture capital firms and other later stage financiers.”
Launched in October 2020, with the support of StartUp Namibia, Naban has 11 members and is chaired by Josephat Mwatotele, chief executive of the Pointbreak Group.
The association consists of individuals from different professional backgrounds who believe in the importance of entrepreneurship as a catalyst for economic growth and are willing to invest their private money in start-ups, in exchange for shares in the company.
In addition to a cash injection, the start-up founder benefits from the network of their new business partners, who, in many cases, also act as mentors.