Local e-commerce platform, Shopstar, has secured third round funding from Launch Africa Ventures, signalling the next phase in its strategy to scale. The Proudly South African, cloud-based, e-commerce platform enables local entrepreneurs to build their online store and grow their business, by offering easy to use, professional services which allows them to trade profitably.
Shopstar was founded in 2014. After assessing the business potential in late 2018, seasoned entrepreneur and investor, Mike Joubert, started a second round of investment and became its majority shareholder, beginning its turnaround strategy and starting scaling it for growth.
“What sets Shopstar apart from other e-commerce offerings is that its entire purpose is focused on helping South African entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses, AND make sales. This sets it apart from the bigger international platforms – we have a passionate belief in making South Africa a better place by growing the South African entrepreneurial ecosystem,” explains Joubert
The business has now secured further funding from Launch Africa Ventures, known for its early investment into and backing of over 60 high-potential African technology start-ups.
“We saw potential right from the get-go with Shopstar. It’s a local business that walks the road alongside its customers and it is 100% invested in their success. Our aim is now to scale quickly and we are looking to double revenue this year,” said Managing Partner of Launch Africa Ventures, Zachariah George.
As part of its growth plan, local entrepreneur, Chris Edington, has been brought on board as CEO to lead the business and take it forward. With a background in founding and leading start-ups, his experience as an entrepreneur and tech expert allows him to bring specific insights and knowledge to the business, along with a deep understanding of Shopstar’s customers – creative entrepreneurs who are starting and building their own enterprises.
“What really got me excited about Shopstar is its simplicity and relevance to South African entrepreneurs. It is simple, easy and user-friendly. You can get an online shop started in five easy steps, in under 10 minutes and with no coding knowledge or design experience required. It means it’s incredibly democratic – now, any entrepreneur, whatever stage of their journey they are on, is able to open their business up to endless possibilities and audiences. And we offer unique professional services to also help them make sales, ” says Edington.
As part of the initial short term plans, Edington is implementing ways to develop the platform so that it not just reflects the future of e-commerce, but also provides the tools of the future to help small businesses start, operate and grow.
“We are introducing new ways to assist our customers grow their businesses and make more sales. We have just introduced Shopstar Boost, which offers a suite of services aimed at getting our customers up and operating with professional stores in no time. This includes store design, graphic design such as logos, getting started on social media and copywriting – essentially bridging the gap between SMEs and the marketing agency services they often can’t afford,” continues Edington.
“We were also first to offer South African Dropshipping, which allows customers to build their own shop and sell products from hundreds of other small businesses – essentially a risk-free way of getting started quickly,” he adds.
Shopstar has recently secured further partnerships and endorsement from significant global brands. It is the only e-commerce business in South Africa that is Meta (Facebook) approved, and also recently received a grant from AWS Activate. Other local partners include successful South African start-up Yoco.
“We see such a strong future for Shopstar as we continue to enable South African creators, makers and entrepreneurs. We are a company built for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs. We deeply believe that we can play a role in building South Africa by building our entrepreneurs. Ultimately, the more we grow, the more the small businesses we support also grow,” ends Joubert.