Elloe.ai, a U.S.-based conversational commerce startup led by Kenyan tech entrepreneur Owen Sakawa, has raised more than $1 million in a pre-seed round of funding led by Mad Ventures, Inc., and other unnamed investors.
Elloe was founded in 2021 by Sakawa, Abhijay Rao and Aaron Madolora as a first-of-its-kind AI-powered, conversational commerce platform that allows SMEs to buy and sell products online across messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram.
The $1 million raised from institutional investors will be used to expand the startup’s operations and fuel its strategic expansion plans well into 2023 and beyond, as messaging becomes the primary mode of communication for consumers and businesses.
The startup aims to capitalize on opportunities in the $35-billion conversational commerce market, which has the potential to reach $130 billion by 2025 in emerging markets, with its proprietary technology that assists small businesses in managing their digital sales and customer service through omnichannel that run on messaging apps.
Owen, Elloe’s founder and CEO, explained that the startup is honored to help businesses thrive and become more customer-centric via conversational commerce and that the $1-million capital injection it received from investors will be used to expand its local Kenyan operations as well as fuel expansion into the Philippine and Southeast Asian markets well into 2023 and beyond.
“At Elloe, we’re on a mission to help businesses better engage their customers through conversational messaging; we believe that AI-powered conversations between businesses and their customers can drive customer experiences in areas and platforms where consumers are already engaged,” he said.
Mad Ventures Group CEO Aaron Madolara stated that the venture capital firm is excited to be collaborating with Elloe to broaden the collective reach and assist businesses, particularly underserved micro-SMEs, in realizing their full potential.
He went on to say that the investment perfectly aligns with the needs of emerging-market businesses and consumers, as Mad Ventures continues to make significant progress in providing digital livelihood options to the unemployed and unbanked.