The days when South African companies could hope to escape the attention of cybercriminals are long gone. That became evident once again in February…
Three South Africans are hoping to hit it big in the US with their blockchain startup Xion, by helping ecommerce providers to quickly and easily create, manage, track and scale any subscription product or service in minutes.
Xion was founded by Aeryn Quarmby, Ronan Quarmby and Brent Mcmahon-Panther (pictured above, from left to right) in 2018.
The startup recently raised $260 000 — $135 000 from two Cape Town based angel investors late last year, as well as a further $125 000 from Swiss crypto investor Crypto Valley Venture Capital’s (CV VC), with the latter in return for a 10% stake in each startup.
Xion recently raised $260k and plans to launch its subscriptions management platform in the US in the next quarter
Ronan Quarmby told Ventureburn in an email yesterday that the two Cape Town based angels that invested in the startup last year, are from the information technology (IT) sector and the cosmetics sector.
To launch in the US
He said the startup is currently in the final development stage of a working product which it aims to release to market in the next two months.
The product allows Xion users who are sellers to create checkout buttons to insert into any existing ecommerce website. Users who are sellers can also create subscription offerings to list directly on the Xion Marketplace. In addition, sellers gets access to things such as analytics, a wallet and a messenger.
Buyers get access to all purchases, a wallet to view loyalty and account balance, a marketplace for purchasing subscription offers, a messenger and a dispute centre to resolve any issues with the seller.
The platform also offers a third-party blockchain fulfillment service, a sustainable packaging supplier, a vendor centre to select products to sell and a one-click recurring billing solution (with no chargebacks). Like this, Xion claims it gives sellers the power to scale at a rapid pace.
The investment that the three netted from CV VC will go to marketing, development and hiring skilled professionals in the industry, Quarmby said.
He confirmed that the startup is registered in the US and explained that the three decided to launch the product there first, as the ecommerce market in the US is the world’s largest.
He said once the platform goes live and the company is able to raise additional funding, the three will look for office space in the US.
Currently Aeryn Quarmby is based in London, while Ronan Quarmby and Panther are based in South Africa. “We do travel a lot, but when we are together we work out of co-working spots,” added Quarmby.
In addition to the three founders, the startup has two in-house full-stack developers and an outsourced blockchain development team of nine from the Ukraine.
Part of CV VC’s latest cohort
Xion was part of the second cohort of CV VC’s accelerator CV Labs Incubator in Zug, Switzerland, which concluded at the end of last month.
The cohort also included another SA startup, Wildcards, which allows users to help save endangered animals by trading what it calls, “digital endangered animal collectables”. The startup did not disclose what it netted from investors (see this story).
Another SA startup Cape Town based crypto startup Pocketjam, a platform that incentivises children to solve math problems to earn pocket money, took part in the accelerator’s first cohort and last year netted $75 000 from CV VC (see this story).
Quarmby called CV Labs Incubator a “one of a kind” accelerator programme. “The experience and knowledge gained over three months of incubation is priceless,” he added.
He noted that some of the key learnings that the startup got from the programme include help on business structures, partnerships and team execution. “We have also learned multiple strategies with pitching in front of large audiences and investors,” he said.
Quarmby came to hear about the programme while in Malta attending a blockchain conference with one of the startup’s fellow founders. The two ended up meeting with one of the CV Labs representatives who advised hem to apply for incubation.
The startup’s plans for 2020, says Quarmby, include securing more partnerships, expanding the team and launching the first version of the Xion platform which will be the decentralised subscription billing and loyalty programme for the ecommerce sector.
“Furthermore securing additional investments to close the next round of funding, increase our marketing budget and expand to version two of the platform to launch by mid-2020,” he said.
Read more: SA trio behind Wildcards betting on social status to propel their endangered wildlife token
Read more: Swiss crypto fund CV VC has invested $75k in SA startup PocketJam, confirms co-founder
Read more: Swiss crypto investor CV VC mulling setting up African chapter in Mauritius
Featured image (from left to right): Xion co-founders Aeryn Quarmby, Ronan Quarmby and Brent Mcmahon-Panther (Supplied)