France’s FairMoney, a small business and consumer micro-lending technology company operating in Nigeria, has announced $11 million in venture capital funding.
FairMoney on Monday (Sept. 16) said its Series A round was led by Flourish, a venture of The Omidyar Group, while DST Global and existing backers Newfund, Speedinvest and Le Studio VC also participated. Currently, more than 200,000 customers use FairMoney to access financing, with the company’s algorithm using data from a user’s smartphone to underwrite those loans.
The company can disburse loan funds to users within five minutes, with an average loan value of $33 and a maximum loan amount of $440.
“Our vision is to build a holistic financial platform for underserved customers in emerging markets,” explained FairMoney CEO Laurin Hainy in a statement. “We want to do that by offering an easy-to-use product to our customers and become a financial one-stop-shop for them. We started with credit for small business owners and individuals, and we are expanding our services rapidly. Think digital bank for emerging market consumers.”
In addition to the Series A funding, FairMoney also announced a new feature for its mobile app, allowing borrowers to top up their mobile phones to buy data or pay utility bills. The company also plans to introduce additional financial services including a savings account and digital wallet product.
Mobile FinTech is key to addressing financial inclusion for under-banked businesses and individuals, particularly in Africa where smartphone penetration is high.
In Nigeria, another digital-only bank, Kuda, announced $1.6 million in pre-seed funding earlier this month led by Haresh Aswani, Ragnar Meitern and other angel investors. Kuda said it has been granted a standalone banking license from the Nigerian Central Bank, which makes it unique among FinTech as its own bank with a digital- and mobile-first strategy — rather than a FinTech using an existing bank to launch a mobile app. Currently in beta testing, Kuda plans to use the fund for new tech and a live launch later this year.