Nigerian communications platform-as-a-service startup Termii has raised $3.65 million in new financing, bringing its total funding to date to slightly $5 million. According to CEO Gbolade Emmanuel, in a chat with TechCrunch, the funds are not needed for operational activities but rather to power the company’s expansion initiatives: developing and promoting existing and new products in new markets with a priority to Francophone African countries (starting with the Ivory Coast), and not North Africa as earlier planned.
Emmanuel, Ayomide Awe and Atinuke Idowu launched Termii in 2017 after the founders recognized the need for African businesses to have exceptional communication channels. The startup’s API-based communication infrastructure allows businesses, particularly fintechs, to engage customers via different channels, including SMS, voice messaging, mobile tokens, alerts, and a two-way support system.
In 2021 when the customer engagement platform banked $1.4 million in seed funding, it served more than 500 fintechs (they make up 89% of its customer base), including Chipper, Paystack, Moniepoint, Piggyvest, among others and over 1,000 businesses and developers used its APIs. Now, over 10,000 businesses rely on the startup’s API and no-code campaign dashboard for terminating SMS and voice messages monthly, according to CEO Emmanuel. He added that Termii’s annual recurring revenue consequently increased 30x, and message transactions on its platform grew from a million to 400 million within this timeframe.
Termii plans to expand its product offering beyond regular messaging services to include calls and OTP (one-time password) generation to increase transaction numbers. Its newly launched mobile app TermiiGo which the company claims to be “Africa’s first cross-company mobile virtual solution will be the main engine behind that growth.
“So far, we have been successful in serving customers with pure messaging solutions; however, we realized that the demand for customers grew beyond messaging,” said the chief executive officer of TermiiGo’s capabilities. “Most of our financial services customers required one-time verification systems to valid user transactions and identity; hence we introduced this across SMS, calls, emails, and WhatsApp, giving them multiple options and better delivery rates.”
TermiiGo, which employs a B2B2C model, embodies features similar to several apps like Google Authenticator, Twilio’s Authy and WhatsApp, such as direct-to-mobile notifications, SMS messaging and time-based OTPs for social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, and other networks that utilize 2FA options. Additionally, TermiiGo mobile application provides local and international calling for enterprise businesses and global eSIM activation, which leverages the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) model across Africa.
On the eSIM feature, Emmanuel explains that African businesses can offer their employees and users the ability to own eSIM cards or branded sim cards with unlimited voice calls and texts. It also allows remote working and customer support services with data to work without switching sims when they travel across cities in Africa and the U.S., for example.
“We plan to support more countries in the future, like countries in the U.K. We plan to launch all these services in phases and have seen growing interest in this product from big tech and financial service providers and small enterprise businesses,” Emmanuel narrated on the eSIM feature. “We would be launching physically first in Nigeria at our conference this June and also in Ivory Coast, Ghana, and the U.S. After which we would explore other locations. However, other features on our app would be open for use across multiple African countries.”
Pan-African early-stage investor Ventures Platform led this financing round with participation from New York-based fund FinTech Collective and Launch Africa Ventures. Other backers in the round include Nama Ventures, Aidi Ventures, Ralicap Ventures, Now Venture Partners, Vastly Valuable Ventures, NOA Capital, Assembly Investors, Probability Ventures, Adamantium Fund, MyAsia VC and Uncovered Fund. Angel investors such as the Afropreneur Angel Group, Aubrey Hruby, partner at Tofino Capital and Eamon Jubbawy of Onifido also participated.
“Termii stood out to us as a game-changer in the A2P (Application-to-Person) messaging space. Their platform fills a crucial gap by providing seamless integration of telecom services, solving the high message failure rates and complex setup requirements experienced by businesses across the continent,” Dotun Olowoporoku, the general partner at Ventures Platform, said on why his firm backed the four-year-old customer engagement platform.
Meanwhile, Samantha Wulfson of FinTech Collective said in her firm’s conversations with African businesses, “Termii’s solution was cited as the fundamental piece of their infrastructure powering day-to-day business operations, ensuring the delivery of OTPs and transaction-related messages with a higher degree of certainty than ever before, and is still only scratching the surface of their vision as a communication layer.”