Konga was founded in July 2012 by Sim Shagaya, with 20 staff. Shortly after launching in 2012, Konga raised a $3.5 million seed round from Investment AB Kinnevik. The site initially functioned as a Lagos-only online retailer focused on merchandise in the Baby, Beauty, and Personal Care categories, but broadened its scope to all of Nigeria in December 2012 and gradually expanded merchandise categories through 2012 and 2013. This expansion may have been a response to Konga’s major competitor, Rocket Internet backed Jumia, which launched around the same time and was functional across all categories.
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.