Browsing: Funding

In Nigeria, where an estimated 38 million people, or 36% of adults, remain financially excluded, the government has set a target of 95% financial inclusion by 2024. 

While this may seem like an ambitious goal, that will require institutions to re-strategize initiatives and policies to accelerate the delivery of financial inclusion services, a lot of tech-backed firms are being developed in the West African country to help achieve this goal. 

Among them is Lagos-based FinTech unicorn Interswitch which seems to have heeded that call, leveraging its position as a market leader in digital payment services to bridge the massive financial inclusion gap and help bring as many people into the financial and economic fold as possible.

This and other challenges including unpredictable prices of farm produce and a lack of working capital often plague small restaurants and food vendors across the continent. 

This is what largely drove the creation of TopUp Mama- Former Kibanda TopUp- in Kenya. 

The firm launched in February 2021 in Nairobi and has reported significant growth over the past year since its inception. 

Founded by Njavwa Mutambo, Emilie Blauwhoff and Andrew Kibe, the startup has grown 10-fold in just over a year with more than 3,000 merchants (1,000 active) using its platform to make orders every month.

“Sokowatch started as this kind of backend brand. We wanted a brand that could be more front and centre for the African retailer and easily pronounced across all markets while reflecting our East African roots. So that’s why we’ve rebranded now to Wasoko, meaning ‘people of the market,” Yu said.

The seven-year-old company said this round of funding will go towards exploring expansion into Nigeria as well as Southern Africa while consolidating its position across its six current markets.

It will also make hires and expand its product offerings to point-of-sale merchant systems, bill payments and social commerce, verticals it might build in-house or back and acquire companies that provide such services.

The company also offers a buy now, pay later option for retailers who need working capital to order more goods. Buy now, pay later offerings are the latest trend for B2B retail and e-commerce companies. They see it as a sticky option in an otherwise volatile space where retailers aren’t committed to one player, given non-differential offerings.

Norrsken22 plans on capitalizing on its general partners’ years of experience and investment philosophies to back startups in fintech, MedTech, Edtech, and market-enabling solutions such as B2B marketplaces and inventory management businesses.

Kolbe, whose previous firm Actis backed Egyptian fintech giant Fawry in 2019 as it prepared to go public, said Norrsken would look at Egypt ‘opportunistically.’ 

Deals from the country that may be of interest to the firm will be those planning an expansion into the four markets Norrsken22 is currently keen on, including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa.