Nigeria’s leading mobile banking startup, Kuda Bank, raised N25 million in a Series A round led by Valar Ventures, a company founded by Peter Thiel, Facebook’s first investor and co-founder of Paypal.
Other investors were Target Global, an international venture capital firm headquartered in Berlin and several other existing investors.
Kuda Bank said the new fund will be used to increase customer acquisition, expand leadership roles, and build out new features including a new easy-to-use lending option that the company is currently trailing with select customers.
According to Babs Ogundeyi, the co-founder and CEO, Kuda Bank was doing $500 million in transactions per month in the month of November and did $2.2 billion.
“In November we were doing about $500 million in transactions per month,” Ogundeyi said, for services like bill payments, card transactions and phone top-ups. “We closed February at $2.2 billion.”
In December 2020, Kuda Bank raised $10 million in a seed round, the largest seed round by a startup out of Africa.
Babs Ogundeyi, CEO and co-founder of Kuda, said: “At Kuda, we know that the companies which are best able to leverage technology and talent will be the same companies which are best positioned to provide huge numbers of people across Africa with access to a vastly improved financial system that places the customer at its center. We recognize the great strides that we have taken to get to the point at which we are now, but even more importantly we recognize just how far we still have to go to achieve our objective of providing every African with access to powerful, appropriate and affordable financial services.
“With this in mind, we could not be more pleased that Valar Ventures has decided to come on board and join us on this mission. Their insights and experience in helping advise some of the world’s most successful challenger banks will without doubt be a critical part of our successes going forward.”
Andrew McCormack, a general partner, and co-founder at Valar noted that “Nigeria is at a tipping point in the adoption of digital banking, With the rapidly growing, youthful population who are open to new financial alternatives, Kuda is well-positioned to benefit and will transform the landscape of African banking. We are excited to lead their Series A and continue on the journey alongside Kuda.”
Nigeria’s fintech startups are raising huge money, an indication of a growing sector. Flutterwave recently raised $170 million at a valuation of $1 billion to join Jumia and Interswitch as a unicorn.
Global Investments into Fintech Companies Plunged by Almost 40% amid Pandemic
The year 2020 was a challenging year for many fintechs. The global slowdown in funding caused by the COVID-19 led to a significant drop in the number of venture capital deals and brought uncertainty for many companies operating in this market.
According to data presented by AksjeBloggen.com, global investments into fintech companies hit $105.3bn in 2020, almost a 40% plunge amid pandemic.
US Fintechs Raised 75% of Total Investments
Fintech companies apply modern tech solutions in the financial services industry to offer digitally enhanced products and allow widespread access to financial products at a lower cost than traditional players. Over the years, these innovative startups transformed how people and businesses spend, invest, save, or borrow money.
Even before the pandemic, many fintechs found it difficult to access funding, as investors focused on established companies instead of early-stage businesses. Nevertheless, the total value of investments into fintech companies increased dramatically in the last decade.
In 2010, fintechs raised $9bn in funding, revealed the KPMG’s 2020 Pulse of Fintech report. By 2015, this figure grew more than seven times to $67.1bn. In 2018, the total investment value jumped to $145.9bn and continued rising to $168bn in 2019, as the record year for fintech investments.
After the COVID-19 pandemic brought many deals to a halt in the first half of 2020, H2’20 reversed the trend as investors and fintechs learned to do business in a new normal. Nevertheless, statistics show that last year witnessed 2,861 deals worth $105.3bn, almost $63bn less than before the pandemic.
The Americas were the region attracting the most investments in the sector, accounting for 75% of the total, or $79.2bn. Fintechs from the EMEA region raised $14.4bn last year. Asian fintechs followed with $11.2bn worth of investments.
The Number of Fintech Startups Doubled Since 2019
Although the COVID-19 affected the investment activity in the fintech sector, it also triggered a surge in the use of fintech solutions, creating a huge space for new companies.
The BCG data revealed the number of fintech startups worldwide more than doubled since the pandemic struck, rising from over 12,200 in 2019 to almost 26,500 this month.
As of April 2021, there were 10,738 fintech startups in North America as the leading region, up from 5,800 in 2019.
However, statistics show Europe, the Middle East, and Africa have witnessed even more impressive growth in the number of fintechs. In 2019, almost 3,600 companies were operating in this sector. Since then, the number of fintech startups in the EMEA region surged by 160% to more than 9,300.
Asia and the Pacific ranked third with nearly 6,200 fintech startups as of April, up from 2,850 in 2019.
Specta Records N100bn Consumer Lending Milestone
Online instant lending platform, Specta and PaywithSpecta, a digital credit solution introduced by Sterling Bank has disclosed that it has disbursed over N100 billion in digital loans and about N5 billion digital credits, respectively.
Both solutions make loans and digital credits available in less than five minutes to banked Nigerians, irrespective of their bank, without paperwork and collateral.
But above all, they are also the best in the segment for providing the best lending rates and interest free funding up to 90 days for online and offline purchases.
Divisional Head, Retail and Consumer Banking at Sterling Bank, Mr. Shina Atilola, in a statement made available to the press explained: “Specta has disbursed about N100 billion in digital loans in three years. It is an important milestone worth celebrating by a platform that revolutionised and opened digital lending space in Nigeria.
“PaywithSpecta, the digital credit solution extension of Specta has also exceeded expectations. In a few months, it has provided over N5 billion in digital credits to Nigerians.
“We are proud to be at the forefront of deploying innovative solutions that meet the needs of everyday Nigerians and small businesses. Our profound gratitude to our esteemed retail customers and business owners for their loyalty that has made Specta and PaywithSpecta the country’s undisputed market leaders in digital lending and credit solution segments.”
Specta, an instant lending platform that offers up to five million naira consumer loans in five minutes, was unveiled in 2018 by Sterling Bank Plc.
The lending platform uses proprietary data and analytics to process and disburse consumer loans to borrowers who belong to pre-approved communities in less than five minutes without paperwork and collateral.
The types of loans offered include personal, payday, wedding finance, rent, education, and medical finance loans, among others, to salary earners and business owners.
Following the success of Specta, Sterling Bank recently creed another variant of it known as PaywithSpecta to enable customers to pay for goods in instalments. At the same time, Merchants are credited instantly, thereby helping businesses to increase sales.
PaywithSpecta offers digital credit limits to customers to purchase items in-store at Merchant locations or Merchant online platforms. It also allows Merchants to access credit for their business activities.
Trove, Bamboo Assure Nigerian Investors Assets Are Safe Following SEC Warning
Trove and Bamboo, the two of the numerous fintech companies, facilitating investments in foreign assets for Nigerians in Nigeria have released statements to assured Nigerians that have invested through their platforms that their investments are safe.
The assurance came few hours after the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a circular to warn the public against unregistered online investment and trading platforms facilitating access to foreign markets.
The SEC, in a circular titled, ‘Proliferation of Unregistered Online Investment and Trading Platforms Facilitating Access to Trading in Securities Listed in Foreign Markets’ stated that its attention has been “drawn to the existence of several providers of online investment and trading platforms which purportedly facilitate direct access of the investing public in the Federal Republic of Nigeria to securities of foreign Companies listed on Securities Exchanges registered in other jurisdictions. These platforms also claim to be operating in partnership with Capital Market operators (CMOs) registered with the Commission.”
“The Commission categorically states that by the provisions of Sections 67-70 of the Investments and Securities Act (ISA), 2007 and Rules 414 & 415 of the SEC Rules and Regulations, only foreign securities listed on any Exchange registered in Nigeria may be issued, sold or offered for sale or subscription to the Nigerian public. Accordingly, CMOs who work in concert with the referenced online platforms are hereby notified of the Commission’s position and advised to desist henceforth.
“The Commission enjoins the investing public to seek clarification as may be required via its established channels of communication on investment products advertised through conventional or online mediums.”
However, Trove immediately released a statement, saying “Our attention has been drawn to the SEC circular that was recently issued.
“Please be aware that we are and will remain committed to being in compliance with all local laws and regulations. We have always maintained good standing with all existing compliance requirements and regulatory frameworks.
“Be rest assured that your funds and equities are safe and secure with Trove.
“Since the memorandum, we have been liaising with the SEC to get more clarity on the circular. We are also engaging with top level executives at our local partner brokers. Additionally, we have involved legal professionals to manage the on-going mediation.
“From all indications, we anticipate everything would be resolved.
“Kindly note that your US funds and equities are held in custody by Drivewealth LLC, a regulated broker dealer in the US and protected by the SIPC, for up to $500,000.
“You can continue your trading activities as normal as we are still fully capable of carrying out our responsibilities as usual.
“Be rest assured that we are on top of all the happenings and would actively communicate with you all as things progress. Thanks for all your support and confidence”
Bamboo also responded in a similar version to calm thousands of investors on its platform.
Richmond Bassey, CEO, Bamboo, in a statement sent to all registered investors said “We are aware of the recently released SEC circular about trading in foreign markets.
“First off, we want to assure you that your assets on Bamboo remain safe and easily accessible to you.
“We are already in discussions with the SEC and our broker partner and are fully committed to working with them to ensure your interests as our users are fully protected.
“We want to reassure you that there’s nothing to be concerned about. We are still able to carry out all our operations and will continue to do so. Should the situation change, we will inform and advise you on the best course of action.
“Thank you for your continued faith and trust in us. We will continue to put in all the hard work to serve you. Thank you.”
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