Payhippo, one of the leading SMEs lending platforms in Nigeria, has raised $3 million in seed round funding to improve access to credit facilities and source more talent into its team.
The seed round was led by the co-founders of African cross-border payments company Chipper Cash, Ham Serunjogi and Maijid Moujaled, founder of Flutterwave, Olugbenga Agboola, the CEO of investment banking firm Chapel Hill Denham, Bolaji Balogun, and the founder of Metis Capital Partners, Hakeem Belo-Osagie. Other angel investors include management from Paystack, Brex, and Tala and several LPs from Payhippo’s preseed investors. Institutional investors include TEN13, VentureSouq, and Prodigio Capital.
Payhippo, which is part of the 2021 Y Combinator summer cohort, was founded in 2019 by Chioma Okotcha, Zach Bijesse, and Uche Nnadi. The $3 million raised in the seed round is the largest amount Payhippo has raised to date after receiving $1 million in pre-seed funding earlier this year. The company has now raised a total of $4 million to date.
According to the company’s co-founder and Chief Operations Officer (COO), Chioma Okotcha, Payhippo is looking to hire more engineers and data scientists. She said, “we capture our data from the loans we issue, and more talent in the team would allow us to optimize our technology to serve our customers better.”
Chioma also said the company ensures that the loan disbursement happens within 3 hours after approval, a record that seems unattainable in the traditional banking institutions in Nigeria.
“We really focus on keeping this under three hours and making sure that businesses can get the money they need when they need it. Ours is also a product that works for SMEs in terms of a flexible repayment structure.
“We had seen that traditional banks and lenders wouldn’t loan small businesses mainly because there were no credit scores, or the collateral requirements were too high. We decided to come into the market and create an instant financing option, where we create a credit score that allows small businesses to get the liquidity they need to buy inventory for business continuity,” Okotcha said.
According to the COO, Payhippo uses its own customized credit score formula to determine the value of loans accessible to each business. “We use data from historical records that borrowers have built with us, but we also check their banking history to see the actual performance of their businesses,” she said.
Payhippo says it is banking on its fast turnaround time for loan applications to grow its customer base within Nigeria before venturing to other countries. From inception to date the company is reported to have disbursed about 5,000 loans, valued at $1 million and with a repayment rate of 97%, generating about$64,000 in revenues.
She added that the demand for credit is high, fueling its current 25% month-on-month growth. The minimum loan disbursed is about $200 while the average loan disbursed stood at $1,300. “We know that just 1% of the Nigerian market is about 40,000 businesses, and we want to be in a position where we disburse 40,000 loans in a day,” she said.
Ham Serunjogi, Cofounder and CEO of Chipper Cash, said: “New financial technologies are being developed and implemented changing the competitive landscape in the financial sector in Africa. Access to credit is a critical necessity for small businesses to manage their daily challenges. Payhippo helps address this need through its innovative approach that provides loans to small businesses in less than three hours enabling them to have access to sufficient working capital to grow.”
Atomico Close to Landing Over $1 Billion for New Start-up Fund
Sources in the industry report that Atomico, the venture capital firm based in London and set up by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom, is about to announce a new start-up fund which is worth around $1.2 billion.
The investment company is close to raising what is referred to as an “early stage” fund of about $400 million, tailored to helping young start-ups. The information was provided to the CNBC by two venture capitalists, who required their identities to be concealed due to the sensitivity of the discussions.
These capitalists further mentioned that Atomico is developing a “late stage” fund of about $800 million, to support the more established start-ups that require larger amounts of capital to continue their growth. The CNBC received no response from Atomico when a request for comment was made.
The CNBC spoke to a third source, a start-up executive who also did not want to be named due to the nature of discussions. This source told the CNBC that Atomico had informed his own company that it was in the process of raising even more capital from limited partners.
Many other Venture Capitalist (VC) sources stated that they were unaware of any fundraising plans, but would not be surprised if Atomico announced a new fund anytime soon.
It however remains unclear how much more capital Atomico still needs to raise for both the early and late stage funds, and when these funds will be announced officially.
From its inception till date, Atomico – which has its headquarters in Mayfair – has raised five funds. The last fund which the company raised was worth $820 million, and was announced in February 2020.
In the past, Atomico has used its funds to support some of the world’s most valuable start-up companies. These companies include Stripe, Klarna, flying car start-up Lilium and AI (Artificial Intelligence) chip designer Graphcore.
HouseAfrica, CARMA, Two Other African Blockchain Startups Receives $125K Funding From CV Labs
Four African blockchain startups, HouseAfrica, CARMA, Mazzuma and Pravica have received $125,000 in Funding from CV Lab, these startups also qualify for a three-month CV Labs Global Incubation program and other CV VC-run initiatives.
CV VC (Crypto Valley Venture Capital) is a Swiss Investment Company and an early-stage venture capital investor with a focus on startups that build on blockchain technology. CV Labs offers a three-month hybrid Blockchain incubation program that invests up to $125’000 in great startups in return for 10% equity and /or tokens
In July 2021, CV VC extends its operations into Africa setting up the company’s first office on the African continent in Cape Town. The company said, “CV VC’s goal in Africa, together with partners from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and local stakeholders, is to invest in 100 startups that have the potential to tackle the challenges of the African continent over the next four years. The SECO signed a special agreement with CV VC. The joint project aims to support the development of an independent ecosystem in South Africa by transferring know-how and experience from Swiss Crypto Valley to serve as a hub for Africa”.
The program, which also includes BlockFrauds (UK) and CO2DAO (Switzerland), recently kicked off with “Africa Week,” in which CV VC partner Binance Smart Chain, the University of Johannesburg, and the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative collaborated with the innovators for a week in both Cape Town and Johannesburg.
The four Selected African Blockchain Startups are:
HouseAfrica (Nigeria) is a Blockchain Technology company building a digitized property record system that assists home buyers and financial institutions to access, verify authenticity and value properties before investing. Properties are accessed and sold by sharing site digital layout.
CARMA (Nigeria) is the world’s first P2P data marketplace company created to fill the credit-data gap in sub-Saharan Africa. Organizations are provided credit data which allows them to make data-driven business decisions.
Mazzuma (Ghana), “the Future of Online Payments” is a mobile payments system that specializes in the use of Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain to facilitate seamless payments transactions.
Cairo-based startup Pravica, is a unified, secure and privacy-compliant communication platform that uses blockchain technology to empower user privacy and security.
CV Labs has incubated 22 businesses throughout the world, the managing director of CV VC Africa, Gideon Greaves said he’s excited to see the collaboration with SECO to assist the establishment of an autonomous blockchain ecosystem in Africa to become reality.
“I’m incredibly excited to be a part of CV VC’s journey into Africa. Being a leapfrog population, we are in a prime position to adopt this disruptive technology and I believe this continent can lead the crypto and blockchain charge”. He said
“We are happy to start our Africa chapter with an initial foothold in South Africa, a thriving hub for entrepreneurs, developers and creatives and an already well-established startup and technology ecosystem. With the experience and know-how from Crypto Valley, including infrastructure providers, an enabling regulatory framework and our global network, we will be able to accelerate growth for blockchain startups and grow the blockchain ecosystem in all of Africa”, said Mathias Ruch, CEO and founder of CV VC.
Nigerian e-Health Pharmaceutical Startup, DrugStoc, Lands $4.4 Million Funding
In Africa, the pharmaceutical supply chain has been fractured for decades. This has resulted in challenges in distribution and sourcing, as well as concerns about quality as fake and substandard products have begun to flood the market. The good news is however that these issues that are facing the pharmaceutical supply chain are fixable.
Chibuzo Opara and Adham Yehia who are highly familiar with the problems of poor pharmaceutical supply chains, are planning to spread the reach of DrugStoc. DrugStoc is an e-health drug acquisition platform that does its best to fight against these challenges by linking drug companies with health institutions such as hospitals and pharmacies across the country.
DrugStoc is presently on a highly vigorous expansion plan, which includes delivering standard quality pharmaceutical products to 100 million people, after recently securing the $4.4 million Series A funding.
The startup’s current plan is to expand into 16 states within the country as it seeks to move beyond Lagos, the economic hub of Nigeria. Asides this is its much bigger plan to expand beyond Nigeria into other markets within Africa.
The availability of high-quality, standard pharmaceutical products especially within the country will result in the prevention of thousands of potential deaths. These include loss of life which is linked to loss of blood during childbirth, or children losing the fight against diarrheal diseases.
TechCrunch reports that the company has stated that it currently serves about 14 million people.
The startup’s funding round was spearheaded by Africa HealthCare Master Fund (AAIC), with investments following from Chicago-based venture firm Vested World, German Development Bank (DEG) and individuals with high net worths who have strong interest in tech-health.
AAIC Director, Nobuhiko Ichimaya said that the Fund is “glad” to support a company which is now positioned to be an important player in the growth of the tech-health sector in Africa.
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