Dealflow | September 14, 2021

Two African fintechs raise early rounds to connect informal businesses to capital

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, September 14 – Small businesses in emerging markets are often shut out of traditional financial services because they’re deemed too risky to lend to or too expensive to underwrite. Kenya’s Pezesha operates an online marketplace for matching small businesses in need of working capital loans to banks, microfinance organizations and other financial services firms.

The five-year-old, woman-led company serves as a “tech bridge” between businesses and lenders, vetting potential borrowers and assigning them alt-credit scores based on data it receives from partners, like Twiga Foods and enterprise tech venture MarketForce.

Pezesha secured an undisclosed amount of seed funding from GreenHouse Capital and Venture Garden Group. It operates in Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana and plans to expand to Uganda.

Nigerian fintech

Nigeria-based Prospa, a two-year-old neobank for micro-enterprises, provides digital bank accounts to informal and small businesses, helps informal businesses get registered, and provides invoice and inventory software. It raised a $3.8 million pre-seed round from Y Combinator, Global Founders Capital, Liquid 2 Ventures and executives from Square, Facebook and Nubank.

Nigerian fintech ventures have raised more than $1.5 billion since 2019.

Senegal’s unicorn

Last week, Senegal-based mobile money provider Wave closed $200 million from Sequoia Heritage, Founders Fund, Stripe and Ribbit Capital that valued the company at $1.7 billion, TechCrunch reports.

Wave spun out of Sendwave, a fintech company owned by London-based money transfer service WorldRemit.