Presently, 2 billion individuals and 200 million micro, small, and midsize businesses in emerging economies worldwide lack access to savings and credit, according to a recent study by Mckinsey. Moreso, those with access to these services must often pay high fees for what is a limited range of products when compared to counterparts in the Western World.
However, technology now offers a solution through digital finance that enables payments and financial services to be delivered through mobile phones, the internet as well as other better and more affordable means in these emerging markets.
Across Africa, hundreds of startups have been launched with the aim of transforming the lives and economic prospects of individuals as well as the small businesses, boosting countries’ GDPs and overall making financial inclusion a reality. In Rwanda, for example, the adoption of digital technologies within the banking sector saw access to finance increase from 48% in 2008 to 86% in 2016.
The impact that digital finance could have on the developing world is being realized and millions of dollars are being invested in startups offering financial services across the continent. From Digest Africa data, we were able to single out those that have so far attracted the largest amount in venture funding to-date. With the cut off at $1 million, the list currently stands at 39 startups.
In this article, we take a look at the top 10 most funded fintech ventures. To get the full list, fill in one of these surveys: For Investors or For Startups. In case you don't fall under any of the two categories, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Jumo [$67.5M]
South Africa's Jumo is a platform for building and running financial services. Through their platform, they enable their users to gain access to savings, lending and insurance products in emerging markets. Founded in 2014 by Andrew Watkins-Ball, they are now present in seven African and two South-East Asian countries. The Asia expansion was announced on the back of the startup raising its $52 million Series B that Goldman Sachs led. At the same time, Andrew also relocated to Singapore to oversee the companies growth in the new market. To date, the startup has raised a total of $67.5 million across three different rounds of venture funding. Some of its notable investors include Odey Asset Management, Goldman Sachs, Leapfrog Investments and Proparco.
2. Cellulant [$54.5M]
Kenyan payments company Cellulant is on a mission to digitize payments for Africa’s largest economies. The company operates payment services that enable businesses and consumers to make and accept digital and mobile payments. It was founded in 2004 by a Nigerian and Kenyan, Bolaji Akinboro and Ken Njoroge respectively. So far, Cellulant has so far raised a total of $54.5 million in venture funding. The bulk of this amount was raised last year. Some of the company's notable investors include the Satya Capital, Progression Capital Africa and TPG Growth through The Rise Fund.
3. Opay [$50M]
Founded by Norwegian technology firm Opera, OPay was launched last year in Nigeria as a mobile-based platform for a variety of services including payments, transportation, food and grocery delivery, paying bills, and receiving money. In short, the firm is on its way to building a super-app. Some of the services offered through the Opay app include ride-hailing - Oride - and food delivery - Ofood. In July this year, the firm announced that it had raised a massive $50 million in a Series A round from GSR Ventures, IDG Capital, Meituan Dianping, Sequoia Capital China, Source Code Capital as well as its parent Opera. It is not clear, however, if the investment from Opera is part of the $100 million that it announced in an April 2017 press release.
4. Carepay [$45M]
CarePay International describes itself as a dutch-African fintech with operations across the Netherlands as well as Africa. The company offers mobile health data and payments distribution platform. Linked to several digital payment networks across various countries, it connects patients, premium payers, insurers and healthcare providers. Founded in 2015, CarePay has its African office in Kenya with further operations in Nigeria. In May 2019, it also raised $45 million in a Series A round from Elma Investments, IFHA, and PharmAccess Foundation.
5. Paga [$32.7M]
Nigerian mobile payment company Paga, founded in 2009 by Jay Alabraba and Tayo Oviosu is among the well-capitalized financial services startups across Africa. The startup has so far raised $32.7 million in total venture funding from a couple of leading investors. Following the close of its Series B last year, Paga's impressive list of backers now includes Global Innovation Fund, Unreasonable Capital, Omidyar Network, Acumen, Adlevo Capital, Capricorn Investment Group, and Goodwell Investments. With this funding in check, Paga's founding CEO Tayo Oviosu announced the company's plans to expand beyond Nigeria into Ethiopia as well as beyond Africa into other emerging markets with Mexico top of their radar.
6. Flutterwave [$20.29M]
Founded in 2016 by serial entrepreneur Iyinoluwa Aboyeji who later stepped down from his CEO role and eventually left the company as well as Olugbenga who now serves as the CEO, Flutterwave currently operates in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and other markets across Africa. Most recently, the company announced a groundbreaking partnership with Chinese payments giant Alipay. Through this arrangement, Flutterwave merchants across Africa will be in a position to sell their products to the Chinese market. To date, the fintech venture has raked in $20.29 million in total venture funding across two major rounds from many investors. The startup also took part in the globally admired accelerator Y Combinator and counts 4DX Ventures, CRE Venture Capital as well as Flourish Ventures among some of its notable backers.
7. Zoona [$19M]
South African fintech startup Zoona provides products such as money transfers, electronic voucher payments, and agent payments. It was founded in 2009 by Brad Magrath and Brett Magrath and has so far raised $19 million across two major rounds. The startup's latest round took place in August 2016 as a Series B of $15 million led by 4Di Capital. Other notable investors include Accion, International Finance Corporation, Flourish Ventures, and MasterCard.
8. Yoco [$17.7M]
Founded in 2013 by Bradley Wattrus, Carl Wazen, Katlego Maphai, and Lungisa Matshoba, South Africa fintech Yoco provides point-of-sale payment services for small businesses. Following the closing of their Series B round led by Partech Partners in 2018, the startup has now raised a total of $17.7 million in total venture funding across three different rounds. Some of their other notable investors include the Johannesburg based CRE Venture Capital, the investment arm of French telecom giant Orange - Orange Digital Ventures - as well as Quona Capital.
9. Mines [$16M]
Mines is a Nigerian fintech startup with its headquarters in California. The startup has a Credit-as-a-Service platform that enables institutions in emerging markets to offer digital credit products to their customers, especially those who they consider underserved. They were founded in 2014 by Ekechi Nwokah, and have so far raised up to $16 million across 3 different rounds. Among Mines' notable investors include TPG Growth's The Rise Fund, and Persistent Capital.
10. Bitpesa [$14.97M]
BitPesa leverages blockchain technology to provide a foreign exchange and payment platform. Founded in 2013 by Amy Ludlum, Charlene Chen, and Elizabeth Rossiello, the startup aims to significantly lower the cost while at the same time increasing the speed of business payments. In February last year, in an effort to expand its services across Europe, it acquired Spanish online money transfer service, TransferZero. In November last year, Japanese corporate Sompo Holdings announced its acquisition of a 10% stake in the startup for an estimated $5 million. BitPesa has received a total venture funding of $14.97 million. Some of its most notable investors include Future Perfect Ventures, Pantera Capital, Greycroft, and Plug and Play Ventures.