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Nigerian digital banking startup, Umba, raises $15m in Series A funding to reach wider African markets

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A Nigerian digital banking startup, Umba, has secured a $15 million Series A funding to address the underserved markets in other African countries, after beating other contenders for the top prize.

Umba was in the Series A contest with the likes of Costanoa Ventures, Nubank, Monzo co-founder Tom Blomfield, and previous investors like Lachy Groom and ACT Ventures, Lux Capital, Palm Drive Capital, Banana Capital, and Streamlined Ventures.

Founded in 2018 by the duo of Barry O’Mahony and Tiernan Kennedy, Umba regards itself as an “African digital bank that offers consumers free bank accounts and financial services.”

The winning pitch by Umba which was given by Kennedy did the magic for them.

“In both banking and mobile money sectors, we created fundamental banking systems from the ground up and can give a tailored experience for the consumer at the drop of a hat,” Kennedy said.

“We can take all of that open financial data and underwrite it at scale with these various fragmented payment and data types,” he added.

“In practice, this means we’re multi-currency, multi-country, and capable of handling a wide range of payment types. And all of this takes time. Then there’s the capacity to move really quickly against opponents.” Kennedy said.

Following a $2 million seed fund in 2020, the latest funding for Umba brings the total amount it has raised since inception to $17.5 million.

With the new capital, the company said it will be able to test an “interoperable digital banking experience across African markets, as well as its services in Egypt, Ghana, and Kenya.”

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Kenyan music streaming platform, Mdundo, reports 290% user growth since 2020 IPO

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Foremost Kenyan music streaming platform, Mdundo, says it has recorded a whopping 290 percent user growth which has taken it to a 20 million mark since going public in 2020.

Mdundo which was launched in 2023, provides access to the continent’s hottest music to users in 15 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, with millions monthly downloads and streams via its website and app.

According to Disrupt Africa, the company got listed on the Nasdaq First North Growth Market Denmark in 2020 following an over-subscribed pre-sale period that raised $6.4 million at the time in a bid to solidify its leading position in the pan-African music market.

Since then, it has grown the number of monthly active users by 290 percent from five million to almost 20 million, with revenue growing by approximately 340 percent over the same period.

Mdundo CEO Martin Nielsen, in a statement on Thursday, said the platform is also planning to focus more deeply on the five biggest music markets in Sub-Saharan Africa which include Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Ghana.

“Our growth strategy in the last two years has paid off with strong user growth and consistent revenue growth across our core markets. Looking forward towards 2025, we will continue focusing on aggressive growth in users and revenue but with an increased focus on driving value per user and we expect a positive EBITDA by 2025,” Nielsen said.

“Our focus will remain on user and revenue growth and we expect to grow our revenues by approximately 100 per cent from this year to the year ending June 2023,” he added.

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Nigerian fintech, Moove, secures $20 million credit from British International Investment

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Nigerian mobility fintech startup, Moove has made significant moves with its capital as it has secured a $20 million four-year structured credit.

The tech company received the credit from the British International Investment (BII), the UK government’s development finance institution.

The investment was announced at a business reception in Lagos co-hosted by the British high commissioner in Nigeria.

“BII forms an important part of the UK’s package of tools and expertise to help Nigeria build their pipeline for investment and scale up infrastructure investment, in particular to achieve clean, green growth. The launch of BII marks a continuation of this partnership, and we look forward to seeing BII’s support expand and diversify in Nigeria.”  Catriona Laing said.

BII’s Chief Executive Officer, Nick O’Donohoe, while speaking on the rationale behind the move said “in Moove, BII has a partner that aligns with our commitment to back dynamic tech-enabled businesses that can help accelerate impact in Nigeria by strengthening the country’s informal transport industry.”

“I am delighted that not only will BII’s investment help to create jobs and provide entrepreneurial self-starters with the means to own their vehicles, but Moove’s clear focus on gender diversity will foster inclusive economic opportunities for women, both within the company’s workforce and among its drivers.” O’Donohoe concluded.

Moove, according to information on its official website, was founded in response to the challenge faced by over 2 million African mobility entrepreneurs – the lack of access to vehicle financing. It was initially built to solve this problem in Lagos and has since expanded to 6 cities across Africa.

Moove raised $23 million in 2021 to scale rapidly across the continent.

The tech company is raising its revenue-based financing model globally to serve the millions of mobility entrepreneurs in emerging markets around the world who have limited or no access to a vehicle or vehicle financing.

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