Talk360 is using tech to connect communities across the world, helping people access reliable phone services that can address critical societal challenges in underserved communities. The startup has just extended its seed round to €7 million after securing fresh investment.
While we live in an increasingly hyper-connected world, being able to connect digitally or via phone with people and services across the world is generally accepted as a fundamental part of society. However, for millions across the world- it’s just not the case.
It’s reported that over 41% of the world doesn’t have a reliable internet connection – mostly hitting underserved communities. Purpose-driven scaleup Talk360 wants to address this, connecting communities and bridging distances to improve life for people right across the world
The startup has just secured new investment to extend its seed round and bolster expansion plans.
Announcing a fresh €3 million lift, the Amsterdam-based startup has now extended its seed round to €7 million (the initial €4 million secured at the beginning of the summer).
The new capital comes from new VCs that include Kalon Venture Partners, E4E Africa, Allan Gray E2 Ventures (AGEV), Endeavor, and HAVAÍC, and angel investors in the form of the founders of TymeBank, one of Africa’s fastest-growing neo-banks.
Connecting underserved communities
Founded in 2016 by Hans Osnabrugge, Dean Hiine, and Jorne Schamp, Talk360 operates on the belief that everyone in the world should be able to connect with their friends and families and international services, regardless of who they are or where they live. So, the founders, on their purpose-driven mission, developed a localized easy-to-use connectivity service.
Talk360 offers an international voice calling app allowing affordable and reliable international calls to any offline landline or mobile phone in the world. As the call receiver does not need internet, the Talk360 app, or a smartphone, this solution was able to connect 2 million people in 2021, no matter where they were located or whether they had internet access.
Given that 41% of the global community doesn’t have a reliable internet connection, it’s certainly a pertinent issue in our digital world that now heavily relies on connection. It’s particularly hitting underserved communities in Africa, and this is where Talk360 aims to make a big difference.
The purpose-driven innovators offer the ability to call any online or offline number but also do so by supporting diverse and varied payment methods. Not only do underserved communities have trouble accessing internet connection but payment culture tends to be diverse without access to online banking and credit cards. Therefore, Talk360 supports over 60 supported payment systems, 40 currencies, and 1.25 million cash points of sale in emerging countries.
Co-founder Jorne Schamp: “Our mission is to build connected lives & bridge distances, with a special focus on Africa. By enabling reliable, affordable and user-friendly digital services that are equal and available to everyone in the world. In doing so, we not only solve socio-economic problems but also create a new form of employment for Africans through the Talk360 agent model. This model creates micro-entrepreneurship for so-called agents, who can earn money by connecting local customers to our calling app.”
Operating in The Netherlands, South Africa, and India, the startup will use this seed funding to keep growing, accelerating its mission to bridge distances and bolster communities through creating jobs and connectivity.
Schamp added: “We offer local residents the opportunity to come and work for us. They can join our growing network of Talk360 agents across Africa. Such an agent is part of our local customer service, which independently brings in new customers and, for example, helps with installing and upgrading our app. This allows them to generate income and we also contribute to fighting unemployment in Africa.”
This new investment will be used to launch a pan-African payment platform with key hubs of Johannesburg and Amsterdam also taking on new staff members.
Founders Osnabrugge and Schamp anticipate that Talk360’s development will be pushed forward with the new payment platform, further democratizing access to hyperlocal connectivity options.
Schamp: “With the new additional funding, we can continue to expand our reach and make a positive impact on society worldwide.”