Orca, a pioneering South African startup dedicated to combating fraud in emerging markets, has successfully raised $550,000 in a pre-seed funding round. This innovative company collaborates with banks and fintechs to tackle various types of financial fraud, a growing concern in the region.

Funding and Investors

The pre-seed round was spearheaded by Norrsken22 and saw contributions from First Circle Capital, Musha Ventures, Kara Ventures, alongside strategic business angels and close acquaintances. This diverse pool of investors underscores the broad interest and confidence in Orca's mission and approach.

The Fraud Landscape in South Africa

Since 2018, South Africa has experienced a staggering 600% surge in reported fraud cases (SAFPS, 2022). This alarming increase is compounded by the challenges in identifying and preventing fraud on a large scale. The proliferation of new payment methods, such as Payshap, mobile money, cross-border payments, and e-wallets, has opened new avenues for large-scale fraudulent activities, often facilitated by instant settlements.

Orca's Mission and Strategy

Orca intends to utilize this capital to develop straightforward yet potent fraud prevention tools, iterating these solutions with customers in South Africa. Co-founder Thalia Pillay highlighted the importance of building a global network of fraud prevention experts, noting the similarities in fraud types across various emerging markets. "There's so much fraud to fight that it really is a team effort. We named ourselves Orca because orcas band together to take down boats. We're looking forward to collaborating with our peers to take down fraudsters," Pillay remarked.

Future Plans and Expansion

The funding will also support Orca in expanding its team and refining its fraud and compliance products. The strategic investors involved are expected to provide critical support at this early stage. "We aimed to have a diverse cap table that reflects where and how we plan on growing the business. Most of our investors are builders themselves who have successfully navigated B2B and fraud spaces, making them especially relevant to us," added Pillay.

Promoting Diversity in Tech

Orca was founded by an all-female team, a rarity in the global and African startup ecosystems. Data from “Africa: The Big Deal” indicates that between 2019 and 2022, only 1% of funding went to female-only founding teams or solo female founders. Orca’s founders are determined to challenge this male-dominated landscape, ensuring their venture not only survives but thrives by being lean, resourceful, and agile.