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Kuda Provides Funding Opportunities for Startups

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Kuda Microfinance Bank - Investors King

Kuda Technologies has said it is opening up new funding opportunities for startups.

It said this on Tuesday in a statement titled ‘ Target Global and Kuda host startup founders in Nigeria, open up new funding opportunities’.

It said Target Global, a Berlin-based international venture capital firm with over 1.5 billion euros in assets under management, recently brought together founders of several Nigerian startups and local tech investors at an interactive session in Lagos, Nigeria.

According to the statement, Kuda Technologies is Target Global’s first investment in Africa, which is a proof that early-stage Nigerian startups are attracting foreign direct investment.

It said the event, co-hosted by Kuda Technologies, highlighted the growing stream of foreign direct investment into Nigeria’s startup scene and opened up new avenues for fundraising to local founders.

Speaking at the event, a Partner at Target Global, Ricardo Schaefer, reiterated the firm’s commitment to funding Nigerian startups.

He said, “I’m grateful to Kuda for letting us invest and I am very excited, not just because of Kuda, but also because of all the companies and founders I have met in Nigeria.

“It is historic what is happening in tech here and we [Target Global] want to invest more in Nigeria, we want to spend more time here. We are excited about any founder with big ambitions and we are looking for startups with big outcomes.”

The statement said Target Global led Kuda’s record-setting $10m seed round in November 2020, which helped to put the digital-led bank on the world map as a serious challenger to traditional banks in emerging markets.

Kuda had since raised an additional $25m in a Series A round to drive its ambitious expansion plans.

The Chief Executive Officer, Kuda Technologies, Babs Ogundeyi, said Target Global had been a valuable partner in Kuda’s rise to relevance, even beyond making sizable investments in both its seed and Series A fundraising rounds.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Mobile Money Transaction Values to Exceed $870 Billion in Emerging Markets by 2026, as the Payments-as a Platform Model Accelerates

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A new study from Juniper Research has found that the total value of mobile money transactions in emerging markets will exceed $870 billion in 2026, up from $555 billion in 2021; respresenting growth of almost 60%. Mobile money in emerging markets includes microinsurance, microloans, microsavings and mobile money transfer.

This growth will be driven by the transition of mobile money vendors, such as M-PESA, to the PaaP (Payments-as-a-Platform) model. This model enables mobile money vendors to offer their users access to third-party services such as eCommerce; creating additional revenue streams. The research identified PaaP as critical to increasing revenue for mobile money vendors, as smartphone adoption and user expectations grow. The new research recommends that mobile money vendors focus on building their ecosystems now by agreeing merchant partnerships to correctly leverage this opportunity.

For more insights, download the free whitepaper: The New Wave of Fintech Innovation in Emerging Markets

Microloans Represent Fastest-growing Segment

The new research, Mobile Money in Emerging Markets: Segment Analysis, Vendor Strategies & Market Forecasts 2021-2026, found that microloans will be the fastest-growing segment within mobile money, with growth of over 180% over the next five years. The research identified microloans as a key way in which mobile money service providers can increase their revenue by delivering banking-like services.

Research co-author Damla Sat explained: “While microloans are, by their very nature, small-scale, they are growing rapidly in significance, by enabling users to access credit as financial inclusion rises. By offering these services to users, mobile money services can pre empt competition from banks, while increasing their average revenue per user; creating a virtuous circle.”

Africa & Middle East Leading Mobile Money Development

The research found that Africa and the Middle East will dominate mobile money transaction values over the next 5 years; accounting for 56% of the global emerging markets value by 2026. It recommends that vendors in Africa focus on expanding sophisticated mobile money services, such as microinsurance and microsavings, in order to best address this rapidly growing opportunity.

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Popular Tech Startups in Nigeria

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Digital Start Ups - Investors King

As the world improves, there is an increasing need for companies that can use technology to proffer solutions to normal life problems. They are known as tech startups. 

It is a very common saying that the world is becoming a global village, due to the advent of technology and the improvements and inventions which are being made every day. Technology is fast becoming a key component of every sphere of life, including health, religion, finance, etc.

The need to keep up with technological advancements around the world has seen various countries establish companies that make strong use of technology to provide normal everyday solutions. The world has started to see startups that provide banking options without having to leave the comfort of one’s home, as well as others that link people up with medical professionals from their mobile phones or laptops.

Nigeria may be argued by some to be technologically behind some of its international counterparts, but that has not stopped various technology startup companies from erupting all around the country (by citizens of the country), providing different services to customers.

Some of the tech startups in Nigeria – the popular and unpopular – that exist in Nigeria will be examined in this article.

CowryWise

CowryWise is a financial technology (called FinTech) company that digitizes the management of investments for Africans and also allows secure access to investment and savings products. It automates the process of saving and investing money, as users can sign up for an investment plan and have a specified amount of money saved from their savings account to their CowryWise account every month. It also boasts of double the interest offered by any bank.

The company was founded in 2017 by Edward Popoola and Razaq Ahmed. In June 2018, the company received seed funding from Microtraction (an investment institute based in Lagos, Nigeria) and was accepted into the Y Combinator Summer 2018 Batch July 2018. In December of the same year, Kairos – an early stage investment fund in the United States of America – listed CowryWise as one of the 50 World-Changing Startups to watch. In June 2021, the startup received a license to operate as a Fund/Portfolio Manager from Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission.

Flutterwave

Flutterwave is a payment technology and infrastructure company. It enables global digital payments processing for sellers, placing its primary focus on African markets. The company provides an API (Application Program Interface) that enables merchants to process card and mobile transactions. The company provides the technology, services and infrastructure needed to build custom payments and enable smooth transactions. It has facilitated more than $8 billion in transactions since its inception in 2016.

The company was founded by Iyinoluwa Aboyeji and Olugbenga Ayoola back in 2016. The company was inspired by the payment challenges that Aboyeji faced in payments at Andela, a talent accelerator company of which he was a co-founder. The company then brought in experts from both the technology and banking sectors, for proper operation.

Helium Health

Helium Health was formerly known as OneMedical, and is a private healthcare technology company that provides software as a service for medical practices across Africa. The company provides a range of products and services for electronic health record (EHR) management, medical practice management software, medical billing services and software which help medical personnel interact with their patients. As at December 2018, the company had reported over 5,000 medical professionals and over 500,000 patients using its technology in West Africa.

The company was founded by Adegoke Olubusi, Dimeji Sofowora and Tito Ovia in 2016. It started with the development of its minimum viable product as well as market research before it went on to launch its first hospital in 2016. The company was given the Etisalat Prize for Innovation in 2016, and was recognized by the Nigerian Presidency on the Aso Villa Demo Day, after which it received a World Bank GEM grant. It was also nominated for the Future Africa Awards Prize for Technology in 2018.

Paystack

The company is another payment processing Startup Company. It makes payment faster and easier for both companies and individuals that make use of the platform. It gives room for its customers to accept payments through credit card, debit card, USSD, money transfer and mobile money. It has its custom Application Program Interface (API) that allows businesses to design their own payment portals. Businesses that use the API also have a dashboard where they can obtain reports and analyze customer data.

The company was founded by Nigerian software developers Shola Akinlade and Ezra Olubi in 2015, with its headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria. In 2016, the company raised over $1 million of seed funding from Tencent, Singularity Investments, SPARK.ng, Olumide Soyombo, and other investors. In October 2020, the company was acquired by American payment company Stripe in a deal that was reported to be worth over $200 million, in a bid to extend Stripe’s services into Africa. Prior to its acquisition by Stripe, Paystack was said to be used by more than 60,000 businesses in Nigeria and Ghana for the collection of online payments.

LifeBank

LifeBank is a medical technology startup that looks to address the issue of blood shortage across Nigeria. The startup has an app that connects with hospitals and clinics. The startup supplies blood from the blood banks, alongside other medical supplies like oxygen, drugs and medicines to people who are in need of medical care. To date, LifeBank has worked with well over 600 hospitals, delivering 28,000 important medical supplies and helping to save over 10,400.

The company was established by Temie Giwa-Tubosun back in 2016. In July 2015, Giwa-Tubosun founded an NGO known as the “One Percent Project” which sought to increase voluntary blood donation across the country. As at December 2015, it had transformed to LifeBank which is a more commercial endeavor. It delivers an average of 300 imperial pints of blood to over 170 hospitals across Lagos in a month.

PiggyVest

PiggyVest is another fintech startup that allows individuals to save and invest money easily. It gives room for debit cardholders to automate the saving process. Users will choose a plan, and a little amount of money is automatically saved monthly, weekly or even daily. The users will be able to withdraw this money only on a fixed date. The platform has been useful to over one million people in achieving their saving goals.

PiggyVest was created by Ayo Akinola, Joshua Chibueze, Nonso Eagle, Odunayo Eweniyi and Somto Ifezue in 2016. However, it was initially known as “Piggybank.ng” as a savings-only platform. The savings-only service continued for 3 years, until April 2019 when the company rebranded to PiggyVest and started offering investment opportunities alongside the savings service.

Opay

OPay is an Africa-focused financial startup company that builds products that make payments and also focus in transport, grocery and food delivery, etc. Although the company has millions of users, it boasts about having the lowest fees across the entire African continent.

Opay was founded by Yahui Zhou back in 2018, and has an address in Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria.

Hotels

Hotels.ng is an online travel booking agency in Nigeria that specializes in hotel bookings. Customers can use it to book hotels online, make payments, view reviews and also write recommendations. The company’s aim is to ensure that every Nigerian enjoys a comfortable hotel experience and has to date partnered up with over 7,000 hotels from about 320 hotels in the country. It was founded by Mark Essien, a Nigerian from Akwa Ibom state in 2012 but launched in 2013.

Paga

Paga is another startup that was created to make money transfer easier through a safe platform. It is a mobile app that provides digital money transfer services to over 16 million customers and almost 17,000 agents. The company functions in a similar space to Square (which has recently become Block) and Paypal, as they try to eliminate the use of cash for transactions and access to other financial services. It was founded by Tayo Oviosu early in 2009.

Slatecube

The company provides a cloud-based solution for e-learning as well as workforce development. They have a SaaS platform that makes use of the power of Artificial Intelligence. They offer learning solutions to businesses, government organizations, and recruiters to close the gap between education and skills. Schools can also use it for lectures and to conduct examinations. It was founded by Chris Kwekowe and Emerald Kwekowe back in 2018.

Thrive Agric

It is an agri-tech startup that seeks to improve food security across the African continent by empowering local farmers. The startup has established a crowdfunding platform, where local farmers are listed. Subscribers can fund these farmers, and then get live updates of what is happening on the farm when harvest is due while also receiving profits. The company was founded by Uka Eje in 2016.

Vbank

It is a completely digital bank that provides a wide range of financial products to people across all sectors. On the app, you can set up and track your budgets, order your debit cards, access USSD banking service and pay bills. The app also offers free account maintenance, quick and safe transfers, withdrawals, and monthly interest on savings. The company was founded in 2019.

Sparkle

It is a lifestyle and finance app; a digital ecosystem that provides financial, lifestyle and business support services to Nigerians all over the world. The company has been licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, and its application has over 100,000 downloads on the Play Store.

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Kuda Microfinance Bank, Nigeria’s Neobank Hits 2 Million Customer Milestone

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Kuda Bank - Investors King

Just six months after celebrating a one million customer base, Nigeria’s leading Neobank, Kuda Microfinance Bank announced it has attained a 2 million customer milestone, even with the numerous reports that customers between 18 and 30 years of age are moving their savings to other banks because of Kuda Bank’s adherence to CBN’s cryptocurrency policy.

Founded by Babs Ogundeyi, Co-Founder & CEO, and Musty Mustapha, Co-Founder & CTO, Kuda has been on a consistent growth trajectory since 2020. Largely due to its aggressive marketing and improved overall offerings.

Speaking on the milestone, Bradley Want, Head of Growth & Analytics at Kuda said: “Nigerians seem to be more open to skipping the queues and the hassles that come with being at a physical bank. Everyone knows that it can be quite uncomfortable. We’re taking advantage of this positive change in perception by being where people are all the time and offering them the value they can’t ignore.”

He added that the digital-led bank was also recently in the news for winning the coveted ‘Neobank of the Year’ award at the 2021 BusinessDay BAFI (Banking and Financial Institutions) Awards.

According to him “Kuda picked up that prize just weeks after winning the ‘In-House Legal Team of the Year’ award at the 2021 ESQ Nigerian Legal Awards. The bank’s Head of Legal, Dolapo Akinola, also received an individual ‘40 Under 40’ honour at the same event.

On the back of these successes, Kuda has rolled out its independent Visa debit cards, both physical and virtual, with free delivery nationwide.”

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