Nigeria-based classifieds listing company, Jiji, has raised $21 million Series C funding from six investors.
The round was led by Knuru Capital, an Abu Dhabi-based venture capital fund that focuses on late-stage companies.
Founded in 2014 by Anton Wolyansky and Vladimir Mnogoletniy, Jiji is one of the biggest classifieds listing company in Africa. It operates several categories primarily designed to help people buy and sell items and services.
It is the biggest classifieds platform in Nigeria with over two million listings and millions of users.
In April, it acquired its biggest competitor, OLX, a Naspers-backed company for an undisclosed amount. That acquisition allowed it to expand to four other African countries namely Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, and Uganda. Together, these five countries have a potential market size of 400 million people.
According to the company, the new raise would be used to increase engagement and acquire more customers to the platform. It also wants to develop better technology for listing categories.
Importantly, Jiji is hoping the new technology will match users with the right adverts, especially real estate adverts. Alongside vehicle sales and electronic sales, real estate is one of Jiji’s biggest revenue stream and listing.
Jiji’s cofounder, Mnogoletniy, said the platform has made a lot of efforts to control fake listings. “We were able to eliminate a high percentage of fraud listings and estimate fraud listings at less than 1%,” he told TechCrunch. He said there have also been some conversations about adding other services like payments to their portfolio, although no concrete plans have been reached.
Nevertheless, Jiji’s latest funding round comes at a time when the company is facing new competition from different directions. Its biggest competitors are online services that are providing specialised services for one of Jiji’s categories.
For instance, Jiji operates categories for car sales and real estate. But Cars45, a Nigeria based platform, allows specialises in car sales and provides other services such as valuation and car verification. Cars45 is backed by Frontier Car Group (FCG), a company that recently raised $400 million.
Fibre, Spleet, and Muster are all real estate platforms that help people to find good houses in different parts of Nigeria. These startups cut out the real estate agents and allow users to pay rents online and digitally manage their dealings with landlords.