Ashley Gaüzere, founder of the Hub2 platform, wants to allow a population with little access to e-commerce. He also plans to develop the digital economy. The start-up, which won an award at the NxSE forum for the Pitch en lèr, is already very active in Madagascar and West Africa.
Hub2 wants to open the doors of e-commerce to Africa
Two years ago, Ashley Gaüzere founded the start-up Hub2. This universal payment and communication API allows users to facilitate mobile payments and communications. Today, this Reunionese nugget wishes to open the doors of e-commerce to the African region. In fact, it has already moved to the operational phase of its schedule. Indeed, Hub2 is already working in Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar and Burkina Faso. By the end of the year, the company also wants to reach Senegal and Cameroon.
A new generation of digital entrepreneurs in Africa
By enabling low-banked populations to make purchases on e-commerce sites, Hub2 should revolutionize the digital universe in Africa. Indeed, by opening the doors of online commerce to them, it should encourage the arrival of a new generation of digital entrepreneurs in the African region. In fact, e-commerce is already growing at an annual rate of 300%.
Less than 8% of the African population has a bank account
Ashley Gaüzere, an engineer by training, came up with his payment gateway, or ” payment aggregator ” while working for Orange in Africa. He is aware that there is a real problem with online payments, and therefore restricted access to e-commerce products. According to one estimate, less than 8% of the African population has a bank account. Yet 40% of them have access to the Internet and the mobile phone penetration rate is close to 80%.
Connect operators to the platform
Today, the Hub2 platform has seven employees, including two developers and three sales people in Côte d’Ivoire. It wants to act as an intermediary between e-commerce sites and consumers thanks to GSM technology. In Africa, mobicards or mobile banking are widely used. These are mini bank accounts or e-wallets that can be accessed from the phone. Ashley Gaüzere explains that ” by connecting the operators to our platform, we are able to validate the transaction to the buyer from these payment methods by means of a simple SMS “.
Limiting the risks associated with cash payments
In full growth, about twenty commercial operators have joined the platform since 6 months. In addition, about ten new requests arrive every week. ” For these sites, it is a way to secure payments. In general, in West Africa, sellers are paid on delivery, with the risk of last-minute cancellation. Not to mention the cash payments, which then have to be transported with all the dangers that entails “, says Ashley Gaüzere.
Groundwork for a sound foundation
Although it is too early to talk about sales, Hub2 wants to focus on providing support to e-merchants. For the engineer, ” the issue is the number of users . Indeed, he wants his company to stand out first and foremost for its ability to act on the territory. He believes that this is a real groundwork that allows us to develop on a sound basis.
250,000 in Compass funds
The first stage of fundraising was completed through an investment of 250,000 euros by Compass. In addition, the Reunionese start-up had obtained a grant from French Tech, not to mention that it won the Pitch en lèr award. Moreover, this competition highlighted the export capabilities of a project carried out on Sister Island. This prize will allow Hub2 to explore new horizons as it includes airfare to China and India.