Simdul Shagaya is the founder and CEO of Konga and Dealdey. With over 10 years experience in new media and investment banking, Shagaya, whose corporate Africa stints include Google, Lucent Technologies and Rand Merchant Bank in South Africa, launched e-Motion Advertising in November 2005, a Lagos-based integrated marketing and communications agency.
In March 2011, the serial entrepreneur then founded Dealdey (Africa’s answer to Groupon), which grew to be Nigeria’s leading daily deals site.
Nigeria is a market with deep mobile penetration and fast growing access to the internet,” coupled with the fact that the country’s largest city, Lagos with a population of 18-million people making it the epicenter of one the largest urban cities only has two world-class shopping malls, the Palms, which opened in 2005 and Ikeja Mall, in 2011, Shagaya swiftly launched Konga, a spin-off from Dealdey.
His primary goal with Konga, was to aggregate the youngest and fastest-growing market that was dispersed, under-served and that traditional retailers were simply failing to reach; “Konga is a word that is found across the numerous ethnic groups on the continent. And every day, consumers in Nigeria and across West Africa started to log onto Konga for products that they otherwise were purchasing in physical retail stores.
In early 2013, Konga raised a $10 million Series A round from Investment AB Kinnevik and Naspers. In Q2 2013, Konga beta-tested ‘Konga Mall,’ opening up the Konga platform to third-party retailers and moving away from a pure first-party online retail model. In late 2013, Konga finalized a $25 million Series B round from previous investors, Investment AB Kinnevik and Naspers, the largest single round raised by a single African startup at the time. On November 29, 2013, Konga.com crashed and remained offline for 45 minutes as a result of unprecedented traffic stemming from its Black Friday promotion. Konga sold more during the first six hours of the promotion than it did in the prior month.
Konga officially launched its third-party retail platform in the first half of 2014, rebranding it as ‘Marketplace’ from ‘Konga Mall’; by the end of 2014, Konga’s Marketplace featured 8,000 merchants, beating internal targets of 1,000 merchants eight-fold. Konga received USD $3.5 million worth of orders during its 2014 Black Friday promotion, compared to USD $300,000 during the promotion in the previous year. Konga reportedly grew 2014 revenue 450% from 2013. In late 2014, Konga finalized a $40 million Series C round from Investment AB Kinnevik and Naspers, the largest single round raised by a single African startup to date. Despite reports that Naspers acquired 50% of Konga in 2013, publicly-traded Naspers disclosed that its stake in Konga after the October 2014 Series C investment was 40.22%. Konga was reportedly valued at approximately $200 million as of the Series C.
In January 2015, Konga was ranked as the most visited Nigerian website by Alexa Internet. According to CEO Sim Shagaya, Konga “leads the field in Nigeria today [early 2015] in Gross Merchandise Value,” a metric measuring the total value of merchandise sold through a particular marketplace.