Launched in 2019 by Aune Aunapuu, the startup’s female co-founder and CEO, Yaga has quickly risen to become one of South Africa’s most popular online fashion platforms. Showing its ability to thrive throughout pandemics and economic downturns, it has grown to receive over 5 million visits per month. Over 5000 new items are listed on Yaga every day, with 750 000 items currently on sale just in South Africa.
Yaga has partnered with some of South Africa’s largest fashion influencers as well as local retail giants like The Foschini Group. Having recently expanded to Kenya and India, the company aims to become the largest marketplace in Africa and Asia for second-hand fashion.
Yaga is focused on the online second-hand fashion market, which is still in its infancy in Africa. Social e-commerce has become popular in Europe and the US thanks to companies like Vinted and Depop, where influencers’ stores rack up thousands of followers. It has also led to large social platforms like Facebook and Instagram integrating shopping into their products, with Facebook Marketplace a popular example. However, despite their huge customer bases, global marketplaces lack localized and safe experiences for most markets outside of the US.
Yaga’s social e-commerce platform is like a mix between Instagram and eBay, allowing users to browse products in a visual feed or for influencers to create personal online stores. It also addresses one of the main risks of buying from strangers online with its escrow system. This ensures that money doesn’t change hands until both parties confirm the deal went smoothly, providing peace of mind for buyers and sellers alike. To make shopping online more accessible, Yaga offers local payment and delivery methods.
There is a huge future for pre-loved fashion in emerging markets like Africa and Asia. We are big believers in the circular economy, and it’s great to see thrifting come into fashion thanks to influencers and social media. There’s also a huge economic opportunity in second-hand fashion, being able to both make and save money on Yaga. We are excited about the potential impact we can have on South Africa and beyond.Aune Aunapuu, Co-founder and CEO of Yaga
Having relied on angel investments for all of its growth so far, Yaga has now raised €2.2 million from investors in the Baltics. Trind Ventures invested in the round alongside Startup Wise Guys, Specialist VC, and Rubylight as well as notable angel investors with backgrounds in Bolt, Wise, Veriff, Katana, and Klaus. Trind’s investment benefits from support from the European Union under the InvestEU Fund.
At Trind, we focus on companies with a consumer or community component, and marketplaces are naturally in the core of our focus. There is good energy from the founders and they have done excellent job in two active markets, as they are the market leader in Estonia and achieved a lot in South Africa.Peeter Kompus, Manager at Trind
With this new investment, Yaga aims to continue its rapid growth over the next year. The company will use the funds to develop its platform across a number of emerging markets in Africa and Asia, grow its team, and attract new customers.
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