Africa presents a $2.1 trillion consumer spending market for businesses seeking to explore new opportunities for their products and services. Enabling businesses to enter the continent is Versus Africa, a consumer insights platform, that has today announced a $850k pre-seed capital fundraise as it scales operations to support companies in Africa and around the world as they launch their products and services across Africa.
A Techstars 2019 cohort start-up, Versus Africa helps brands get closer to their consumers by obtaining key insights and helping them make better business decisions. Versus combines online and offline consumer data to give brands actionable and competitive insights for the African market. Versus counts brands such as Pizza Hut, Vodacom among others and has partnered with several global agencies including R/GA to support their campaigns.
The Versus Africa platform improves the go-to market strategy and approach of businesses selling in the continent. Through their unique African language sentiment analysis, the technology captures consumer insights using online (social listening and online brand tracking) and offline data trends (conducting in-person surveys through several thousand local scouts) to help brands inform, engage and adapt their product and service strategies. They ‘listen’ (for sentiment, trends and feedback) and then ‘ask’ (for opinions, about behaviours and motivations) to offer a complete insights package for businesses.
Kemdi Ebi, CEO and Co-Founder of Versus commented: “We’ve purposely built our tool to help businesses “’listen” and ”ask” the African consumer to get true engagement and actionable insights. We’re helping them make sense of the thoughts and opinions of African consumers from varying backgrounds. For those who speak in different African languages and slang, we’re able to accurately identify sentiment, trends and opportunities when we “listen” online. With real-time market research and unique patented tools that translate the complexity of local languages and cultures, Versus offers actionable insights to businesses that want to make their African market entry or continuing existence a success.”
The complex nature of the continent with multiple languages, varying socio-political communities and cultural nuances means it has long been difficult for companies to be successful across multiple countries. Versus Africa offers a fresh lens into the market opportunity with their unique and dynamic research approach.
“We have blended technology with boots on the ground to offer the purest insights to companies using Versus Africa. For the first time, businesses near and far are able to make better decisions on their product strategy in the continent. We are particularly excited because as we scale further, we are in pole position to be the go-to homegrown solution for easy, flexible and accurate research for the plethora of new local businesses cropping up across the continent” added Kemdi Ebi.
Commenting on investing in Versus Africa, the MD of Techstars London Eamonn Carey said: “For the longest time, it’s been apparent that there is huge potential in markets throughout Africa – but one of the big challenges has always been getting real, detailed, granular data about users, habits, opinions and more. The Versus Africa platform helps local, regional and global brands get real, meaningful answers to their questions – helping them launch, grow and scale more effectively across the continent. I was incredibly impressed by the team, the tech and the vision they had to use a combo of tech and people to gather an incredible dataset for their customers.”
Various global research businesses have reported on Africa’s macro trends and geo-political events. Before Versus, there have been few that have achieved true regional and local market insights for businesses to make informed decisions.
“How many Africans own and operate research in Africa? Not many. Africa deserves a local intelligence research edge born from within. There have been international research agencies and insights tools that have tried to explore Africa but only from a distant and macro lens, now, for the first time businesses will get true local insights to help them enter key markets across the continent. I hope our launch and growth propels more like-minded tech-focussed Africans to help grow this research industry” concluded Kemdi Ebi.