Saltside Technologies behind Ghana’s number one classified platform

By Nana Appiah Acqauye, Accra, Ghana

The number one classified listings site in Ghana, Tonaton.com is growing at 300 per cent, according to parent company Saltside Technologies.  Founded by early Skype employee, Nils Hammer, Saltside provides online classified site infrastructure to emerging digital markets. The site name Tonaton, which means buy and sell in the local Akan dialect, has proved so successful that Google took the decision to discontinue their classified service in Ghana due to the growth and dominance of the Tonaton.com brand. Now Saltside is by far the biggest classifieds platform in the country.

Saltside currently has a total potential audience of 200 million people and the company also has sites in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka where internet adoption is expected to triple over the next few years. Its team has now grown from three to more than 200; creating jobs and growth in countries which it has a presence. Over 85 per cent of staff are based locally in Ghana, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh.  

Hammer commented: “Our mission is to create a safe, large and efficient marketplace for millions of people to make deals who could not previously access them.  We’ve witnessed first-hand how powerful efficient markets are in improving ordinary people’s lives. We want to support and foster the naturally entrepreneurial attitude which is prevalent in these markets.”

Hammer added: “The combined value of online advertising in Africa and The Middle East is expected to reach $2.8bn by 2016. Yet, far too many countries in these incredibly dynamic markets are overlooked, including those with the most growth potential like Ghana and many others. At Saltside, our goal is to be the forefront of enabling those markets to get online and access buyers and sellers from across their country, as well as locally.”

Speaking to in an exclusive interview with Biztechafrica in Accra, the manager in charge of market, sales and PR Kwabena Opoku Boakye noted that Tonaton has really come to change the face of online advertising in Ghana.  “What we’ve done basically is to take advantage of the 47% massive growth of internet penetration in the country to really change the face of online advertising and trade. We realize that most people want a place to sell their pets, they want to sell their used cars, they want to sell their mobile phones, but they don’t have the means but whiles they have an easy access to a platform that is free to market their product, the tendency is they upload their product and wait for a call and when confirmed its done, very simple”

According to Kwabena Boakye the availability of Tonaton in Ghana has assisted the country’s ever growing small and Medium Enterprise with marketing and advertising their products at no cost to them.  This development has no doubt made the Tonaton.com the second largest most patronized online site in Ghana after Ghanaweb.com, a news and current affairs site.

Saltside Technologies is backed by $25 million in funding from Swedish investment house AB Kinnevik.

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