Nigerian e-commerce platform Jiji formally announced its acquisition of Ghanaian-based classifieds platform, Tonaton. Jiji, formerly known as OLX (after it acquired OLX in 2019) is officially the biggest marketplace for classifieds in Africa after this acquisition.
Tonaton, which was founded in 2013 and run by Sweden-based Saltside Technologies, is popular in Ghana for used car listings. The platform has over 140,000 listings and about 750,000 monthly visitors.
What makes this acquisition particularly interesting is that Jiji acquired the car-trading platform, Cars45 in June last year for an undisclosed amount. Jiji is looking to carve space for itself in the region’s car listing space. According to Anton Volkanskyi, Jiji’s cofounder, “Jiji is the largest e-commerce company in Africa by GMV (more than $10 billion), leading in small to high-involvement key categories such as cars and real estate…the picture is much larger.”
Founded in Lagos, Nigeria in 2014 by Ukrainian entrepreneur Anton Volkanskyi, Jiji has been able to grow despite stiff competition like South-African OLX and Dealdey.
Unlike vertical marketplaces that focus on a singular category, Jiji is a horizontal classified, catering to multiple categories: electronics, real estate, cars, furniture, job vacancies, etc.
The platform makes money off advertising from premium listings. It has grown to become the biggest online marketplace in Nigeria ranking 39th overall on most visited websites in the country and outlasting every other business in that category. The platform now commands 10 million unique monthly visits and 3 million active listings, with over 800,000 ads.
In the last three years, Jiji has been on a vicious expansion journey, modifying its business model to trap a bigger share of revenue flowing to verticals like those listed above. This journey started in 2019 when the platform acquired OLX’s online assets in Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, and Uganda for a rumored $1.5 to $3.4 million, becoming Africa’s biggest online marketplace via geographical spread. In 2021, it also acquired Cars45, before this latest Tonaton acquisition.
Although Jiji’s horizontal strategy has limitations, it seems to provide enough revenue to keep the company growing. The platform has raised a total of $24 million in funding over five rounds, with the latest being a $3 million Series C round in 2020.
With this Tonaton acquisition, Jiji is looking to dominate the car listing space in Ghana. It is currently popular in Ghana for real estate and property listings and this acquisition of Tonaton, which is one of the most popular marketplaces, looks like the secret formula to market dominance. Car and real estate listings look to be the most profitable niche and Jiji is ready to optimise for profit.