Goodsoil VC makes commitment into the surging African fintech space by investing US$ 940,000 into Zeepay. This is Ghana’s fastest growing fintech startup and making a case for investors on Return on Investment (ROI).
It’s worth noting that GOODsoil VC, is an Africa-focused early stage venture capital firm headed by a diverse team of entrepreneurial investors. Goodsoil was founded by Charmaine Hayden, Orla Enright, Ashley Thompson-MacCarthy and Richard Mensah in 2017.
The fintech startup focuses on digital rails to connect digital assets and has footprints in over 20 African markets. It is the first local company in Ghana to be licensed as Electronic Money Issuer (EMI). This enables it to operate as a mobile financial services company by the central bank in April, 2020.
The investment in Zeepay now enables it to continue to scale and roll out its services across the African continent. Zeepay is looking to extend its global reach by launching in the UK in 2021.
In a statement released, the delighted Co-founder and managing director of Zeepay, Andrew Takyi-Appiah, says, “We believe with their strong brokerage background, with leading Ghanaian brokerage firm Obsidian Achernar in their portfolio, we will be able to attract good pricing on Foreign Exchange for our wholesale clients.”
On his part, Charmaine Hayden explains that, “There are clear barriers to entry for tech startups to scale, and our vision is to level the playing field. We go by the dictum that talent is evenly distributed; opportunities are not.”
“The company is the perfect fit for entrepreneurs, markets and industries that may typically be overlooked by other VC firms,” adds Orla Enright.
On exit strategy
There is a constant debate of whether Africa offers increased of volume of exits for investors compared to the level of investments, GoodSoil VC is quite optimistic on the potential of African startups.
In making a case for the continent, Andrew revealed that, “In the deal, two initial shareholders at Zeepay exited from an initial investment of about USD24,000 in 2015 to USD940,000 at the 2020 exit, making it the first of the kind that a Ghanaian investor has exited a local startup with such significant gains.”
GOODsoil VC remains bullish on Africa for the foreseeable future, as they scale their portfolio. They are upbeat about investing in new exceptional startups.
OKO: Insurtech Startup Raises US$1.2M to bring Innovative Insurance to Smallholder Farmers Across Africa
Insurtech start-up, OKO, that provides inclusive agricultural insurance to secure farmers’ income across Africa, has closed a seed investment of $1.2 million. The round was led by Newfund and ResiliAnce. Mercy Corps Venture, Techstars, ImpactAssets and RaSa also participated in the round.
The startup which currently operates in Mali and Uganda uses satellite data and mobile payments to create automated insurance products for farmers whose fields are affected adversely by weather events — primarily droughts and floods. With the new funding, OKO aims to strengthen its presence in Mali and Uganda and expand its offerings to more African markets, starting with Ivory Coast.
According to the founder of OKO, Simon Schwall, in a press statement said,
Simon also said they were using technology to solve this issue and secure the income of those farmers.
The company already has approximately 7,000 paying customers in Mali and compensated more than 1,000 farmers last year, who were affected by floods. OKO’s customers typically grow maize, cotton, sesame or millet. It also works with agro-industries to help them with their sustainability goals and secure their relationships with suppliers. Successful pilots were completed with ABInBev and Touton in Uganda.
This convinced Augustin Sayer, partner at Newfund, to support OKO:
“We believe recent advancement in iOT and data availability will lead to the rise of parametric insurance in Africa for the benefit of the local populations. Simon and his team have built solid bases in Mali from which OKO can now expand in new countries and offer new insurance products.”
OKO takes pride in being the most inclusive crop insurance available. All farmers need to connect to OKO is a phone (no smartphone required): they can dial a short code to obtain more information and pay through mobile money services. To achieve this level of accessibility, the company partners with mobile operators.
OKO, for Aisha Touré, the CEO of Orange Money in Mali, has taken full benefit of the Orange Money platform to provide a service that is both innovative and inclusive.
Daniel Block from Mercy Corps Ventures added,
“While other micro-insurance for farmers exist, we were impressed by OKO’s ability to partner with a pan-African operator like Orange and establish a direct consumer link, which allows for an exciting opportunity to drive deeper user engagement and expand to a suite of insurance products for rural farmers in the future.”
The service offered by OKO is supported by regulators and has won both the Fintech Showcase Award by the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, representing financial regulators of emerging countries, and the SME award from ITU, the telecommunication governing body.
When asked about the next challenges for OKO, Simon Schwall’s answer is clear:
“We need to find more partners who can bring our product to farmers, be it NGOs, agro-industrial players, mobile operators or governmental programmes. We proved that our solution is working and answers a strong need. Now we need to scale”
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