Gjirafa, an Albanian tech company, raised $6.7m to expand its services across the Balkan region.
The startup launched to give Albanian speakers internet services in their native tongue. But since then, Gjirafa has become a one-stop shop for all things Albanian on the internet.
Unique language, unique opportunity
According to the company’s Crunchbase profile, Gjirafa is made for “people who speak Albanian language worldwide, and who can’t search the Albanian web, due to their very unique language.”
The company launched in 2013 to create an Albanian search engine and to digitize Albanian information, such as bus routes and local business information.
But Gjirafa’s early efforts were so successful that the company has since launched GjirafaVideo (a Netflix-style video platform that streams 1m minutes of video daily), GjirafaMall (an online e-commerce network that looks a lot like Amazon), and GjirafaAdNetwork (much like Google’s).
Small market, big dreams
The population of Albania is less than 3m, but since the language is also spoken in Kosovo, Macedonia, Italy, Romania, Montenegro, and Serbia there are more 12m global Albanian speakers.
By offering search, e-commerce, and online advertising services, Gjirafa has become the fastest-growing tech company in the Albanian-speaking Balkan region, expanding at a 314% compound annual growth rate.
The company has 3m monthly unique users across its services, and plans to double the size of its team with its new round of funding.