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Irish Founded Umba, Raises US$2M Seed Funding to Expand Further into Africa

Umba, an Irish founded fintech and digital bank for emerging markets has raised $2 million in seed funding as it seeks to expand its operations in Africa. It currently operates in Kenya and Nigeria.

This funding round was led by Lachy Groom, the former head of issuing at Stripe and Ludlow Ventures, Frontline Ventures and Act Venture Capital.

Umba as a digital bank, offers a transparent and accessible digital financial service alternative to legacy African banks, an underserved market in the region. They have products such as current accounts, instant peer-to-peer payments, bill payments and lending through a mobile app. 

“From the outset we built our platform to serve multiple markets, currencies and payment infrastructure. This flexibility is an extremely important consideration as it’s much harder to upgrade your systems at a later date,” said Umba’s chief executive, Tiernan Kennedy.

Tierman Kennedy continues, “For example bank and debit card penetration is high in Nigeria, so Umba is deeply integrated into those payment methods, while across Kenya and East Africa mobile money is dominant so our platform is tightly integrated with those services, too.”

Umba app

Kenya and Nigeria are the two top markets for venture investment in Africa, with more than 250 million people combined. “We are testing what’s working. We have multiple products – a free bank account with no fees, that is compelling already; then we have things like bill pay with cashback, and then we are working on things like saving accounts with the ability to put aside money in multiple pots.” – Tierman Kennedy.

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This is the first investment in the African market for Ludlow Ventures.

“The team at Umba have an excellent service that drives down the cost of banking for their customers and democratises access. The move away from physical branch infrastructure was already underway and it has accelerated this year.” – said Ludlow Ventures partner Brett DeMarrais.

“As an investor, it’s also very encouraging to see the investment activity that has also increased…It’s clear the African market is maturing and that we’re entering a very interesting phase.” he added.

Umba, a company founded by Barry O’Mahony and co-founder Tiernan Kennedy, currently employs 20 people. They hope for further growth in the coming months as it expands its business in Africa.

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ImaliPay: Nairobi Fintech Startup Raises Pre-Seed Funding Led By TEN13


ImaliPay, a fintech startup helping African freelancers reach their financial goals has raised an undisclosed amount in pre-seed funding from the Australian venture capitalist, TEN13, reputed for investing in top-tier start-ups.

The other investors who participated in this pre-seed round include, Finca Ventures, Optimiser Foundation, Mercycorps Ventures, Changecom, and super angels from Norway, Nigeria, UK and Kenya.

ImaliPay is an embedded finance platform that provides and offers tailored financial products that promote the inclusion of gig economy platforms and workers across Africa.

According to ImaliPay, the primary aim of this newly raised funding is to expand and accelerate their growth and footprint in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya to be a one-stop-shop for gig workers’ financial needs on the continent.

The backing of ImaliPay by TEN13 is on the back of recent chain of events that has elevated the visibility of Africa’s fintech startup scene.

Commenting on the deal, Managing Partner of TEN13, Stew Glenn, said,

“We believe this is a perfect opportunity to introduce our growing international network of investment professionals and investors to one of the most exciting emerging fintech companies in Africa.

ImaliPay in 2020 was co-founded by Zimbabwe’s Tatenda Furusa and Sanmi Akinmusire a Nigerian, who were former colleagues at the leading payments company Cellulant. The fintech company thinks the investment from the venture capital has significant benefits.

SEE ALSO |  Zeew Raises 6 Figure Seed Funding to Strengthen Its Team and Expand Business

In a statement released to the press, Tatenda Furusa said,

It’s a great opportunity for investors to participate in the fintech revolution and a fast-growing segment. Our vision at ImaliPay is to advance financial health and inclusion for gig workers who struggle to manage and access flexible financial services that are often only available to traditional SMEs.

The growth in the African gig workforce is being pushed by the growth in digitization and smartphone penetration. Gig workers constitute a significant proportion of the economy within ImaliPay’s target markets and this market segment is expected to grow rapidly over the next decade.

ImaliPay Users

ImaliPay offers gig workers a one-stop-shop of financial services such as the ability to seamlessly save their income and receive in-kind loans through a “buy now, pay later” model tied to their trade.

Bolt drivers in Kenya can now request a fuel loan and payback after 3-4 days, this allows them to get more work done and Safeboda riders in Nigeria can now buy on credit bike parts, fuel, and smartphones to keep their gig moving and reduce any downtime.

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Other products to be offered off the platform include insurance and investment options to foster a safety net for this hard-working but vulnerable part of the population.

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