By: Tebogo Mokwena
The co-founder and CEO of consumer app Maholla, Adam Reilly, said that the business was started because of the rising cost of groceries, and with the over R27-million they recently raised in investment funding, the company will expand its operations to cater to millions of users. Reilly told Vutivi News that Maholla was a platform where users were rewarded for scanning any receipt from retail stores, restaurants, wholesalers, and informal traders. The users also gained rewards for purchasing their favourite brands such as airtime, in-app purchase vouchers, and 1Vouchers, which were cash payment vouchers.
Reilly told Vutivi News that the app is completely retail-agnostic, which means that receipts from any shop can be scanned. The app partners with brands, restaurants, and consumer research companies to provide them with a real-time understanding of what their consumers are purchasing. The data is then used to give users target-specific rewards. The app also links the retail shopping data of the receipts it scanned to the consumer in order to build an understanding of individual consumers’ shopping habits.
They have partnered with brands such as Maggo, Milo, Ricoffy, Nola, Rama, Hungry Lion, Fusion, Switch Energy and Mr. Sheen among many others. Reilly also said that Reilly told Vutivi News that the business, which was founded in 2021, is based in Cape Town, and has 11 employees, was started after gaining experience in the retail sector, where they learned what it was like to sell product lines through retail stores. “We saw the opportunity to build a platform that connected brands to the shopper,” he said. “We also saw the opportunity to put money back in the pockets of the shopper.”
He said that it was both easy and challenging to get established brands to come on board for the app. “They understood the opportunity and respected the problems we wanted to solve and were eager to appreciate the platform and its value proposition. “The challenging part is the decision-making turnaround time,” Reilly explained that while the company waited for funding, the rewards were being funded from their own pockets, which was strenuous for a time. “We were fortunate enough to get brand partners who are paying us every month and who are long-term partners,” he said.
Reilly also told Vutivi News that the investment they raised for their business will go towards building Maholla into Africa’s largest retail agnostic consumer reward app in the next year. The company recently raised $1.5 million, or R27 million in seed funding, $580,000 of which was raised in July last year from investors like the Buffet Group, Castleton Capital, Praesidium Capital Management, and Galloprovincialis, which includes Mark Bowman, the former Managing Director of SABMiller and an investor in Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) in the country.