Maholla, a consumer rewards app, has concluded a $1.5 million (R27 million) seed funding round.
The company raised a $580 000 pre-seed round in July 2022, bringing its total funding to date to over $2 million (R36 million).
Seed investors include the Buffet Group, Castleton Capital, Praesidium Capital Management and Galloprovincialis.
Galloprovincialis includes Mark Bowman, former managing director of SABMiller, and prominent board member as well as investor in South African FMCG businesses.
According to the company, the Maholla team will use its funding to scale its rewards platform to millions of users and deepen its technical moat.
Maholla is a consumer app that rewards users for scanning any receipt from any store. This allows users to earn rewards irrespective of where they shop – from formal retailers to restaurants, wholesalers and informal traders.
It explains that rewards come in the form of instant airtime, 1Vouchers and in-app games.
Maholla users can also earn extra rewards for purchasing their favourite brands, it notes.
The app links the retail-agnostic shopping data of all receipts scanned, directly to the consumer, in order to build an understanding of the shopping habits of individual consumers in South Africa.
Due to its retail-agnostic approach and frictionless rewards process, Maholla has seen viral app adoption and user retention, it says.
“Our company is en route to tracking as many purchases as a top five retailer in South Africa,” says Jed da Silva, co-founder and head of product at Maholla.
Maholla partners with consumer packaged goods brands, restaurants and consumer research companies to provide them with a real-time understanding of what consumers are purchasing.
The firm notes Maholla makes use of this purchasing data to target rewards to users that encourage loyalty and promote purchasing decisions for partners.
Household names − such as Maggi, Milo, Ricoffy, Nola, Rama, Hungry Lion, Fusion, Switch Energy and Mr Sheen − are among the brands benefiting from Maholla’s dataset and targeting.
David Pugh, digital marketing executive at RCL Foods, says: “We are excited by Maholla’s capabilities: delivering first-party shopping data and influencing purchasing decisions in real-time.”
Maholla’s app works on all entry-level smartphones and has a download size of around 12MB, allowing it to compete for the highly-competitive storage space on South African users’ devices.
The firm says its image compression capabilities mean uploading a receipt incurs negligible data costs for users.
With shopping a daily activity, and smartphone penetration growing rapidly in South Africa, Maholla says it aims to continue building a product that will support tens of millions of shoppers, in a manner that ensures they get more back from their daily purchases.
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