MTN App of the Year

Maholla raises USD1.5m for consumer rewards app

Maholla, a South African consumer rewards app, has just raised USD1.5 million in seed funding to continue building the country’s largest retail-agnostic rewards and data platform.

Ivor Price – Ventureburn

This follows a USD580 000 pre-seed round in July 2022, bringing the company’s total funding to over USD2 million.

The seed investors include Buffet Group, Castleton Capital, Praesidium Capital Management, and Galloprovincialis, which includes Mark Bowman, former managing director of SABMiller, and a prominent board member and investor in South African FMCG businesses.

The Maholla app rewards users for scanning any receipt from any store, allowing users to earn rewards regardless of where they shop. Rewards come in the form of instant airtime, 1Vouchers, in-app games, and more, with additional rewards available for purchasing favourite brands. The company links the retail-agnostic shopping data of all scanned receipts directly to the consumer to build a granular understanding of individual shopping habits in the country.

Due to its retail-agnostic approach and frictionless rewards process, Maholla has seen viral adoption of its app and industry-leading user retention. “Our company is on route to tracking as many purchases as a top 5 retailer in South Africa,” said Jed da Silva, co-founder and head of product at Maholla.

Maholla partners with CPG brands, restaurants, and consumer research companies to provide them with a granular, real-time understanding of what consumers are purchasing in South Africa.

Brands such as Maggi, Milo, Ricoffy, Nola, Rama, Hungry Lion, Fusion, Switch Energy, and Mr. Sheen are among the many already benefiting from Maholla’s superior dataset and targeting capabilities.

David Pugh, digital marketing executive at RCL Foods, said, “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 highly competitive storage space on a South African user’s device. Its image compression capabilities mean uploading a receipt incurs negligible data costs for users.

With shopping being a daily activity, and smartphone penetration growing rapidly in South Africa, Maholla aims to continue building a product that supports tens of millions of shoppers, ensuring they get more back from their daily purchases. This will make a meaningful difference to lower-income households struggling to keep up with rising food costs in the country.

This trend was revealed following the release of Maholla’s year-on-year basket size data, which confirmed a 23.7% decrease in consumer basket sizes between February 2022 and February 2023.

Maholla is a viral consumer app that rewards users for scanning any receipt from any store. By linking retail-agnostic shopping data to the consumer, it is building a granular understanding of individual shopping habits. The company then leverages these habits to target rewards for their CPG partners that encourage brand loyalty and shopper influence in real-time, with attribution.


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