Work from home, banana bread, and tissue paper. As the pandemic comes to an end, you may well find yourself replaying lockdown’s greatest hits. Social interaction apps popped up like weeds during the pandemic, with new players touting features like in-app audio, virtual drinks, and video options in an attempt to attract new customers.
Designed to help you interact, HouseParty, ClubHouse, and Match.com saw huge spikes in usage, whilst bars and clubs around the world closed their doors. Vying for dominance in Europe and Africa is NoirMarche. The South London startup connects businesses and entrepreneurs throughout Africa, with start-ups and investors all over the world. With in-app features geared towards the developing world, the company describes its focus to be more on functionality than on fancy.
“The remittance space was always a big thing, but since the pandemic, networking collaborations and conscious investing has taken on new prominence. Brian and I are both Africans, but we are also British. NoirMarche is the creative bridge between our homes, and the homes of many others.” Joseph Opara, co-founder, and CEO of NoirMarche.
NoirMarche is aiming to open up its platform to users across major European cities by the end of 2022. While proponents of Africa’s unicorns highlight Paystack and its recent purchase by Stripe – ahead of Stripe’s upcoming IPO, skeptics point out that though e-commerce as a whole did very well during the pandemic, African unicorns, such as Jumia, continued to struggle. The big question is whether these start-ups will survive after the pandemic. Investors overwhelmingly remain positive on the prospect for growth in the sector, with apps such as Clubhouse recently closing their series C round now valuing the company at 4bn dollars.
“institutional voids within Africa existed prior to the pandemic. Tech solutions aimed at improving collaborations have also always existed, the pandemic has only made them more necessary” Olu Awoyomi, Financial Analyst at BGE Finance.
Pandemic hype or here to stay, many more people will be getting a chance to judge if it’s for them this year. African unicorns such as NoirMarche offer some much-needed diversity to the current app space. Which one consumers gravitate to depends on whether you’re in the mood to network, interact with a small group of friends or talk shoot the breeze about the weather in Accra with a bigger group of people. Download NoirMarche available on both Google Play and Apple Store.
NoirMarche is a South London-based social platform destination for millennial entrepreneurs and start-ups across Africa to collaborate and connect with creatives and businesses all over the world. Through its online community, NoirMarche’s goal is to connect African businesses and suppliers with the rest of the world.