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Tech News

Flutterwave, One pipe, and funding raised by Nigerian Tech startups

Here is a breakdown of how some of these start-ups have grown from pre-seed funding to Series funding and what they plan to do in the future.

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Startup funding in Africa, Fintech, Disrupt Africa

The year 2020 was really an eventful year for tech start-ups in Nigeria, with many clinching high financial backing from investors and achieving outstanding growth in a pandemic year.

The Nigerian tech community witnessed more people come up with amazing ideas to solve challenges in real-time and this has brought more investors into the Nigerian tech space.

Here is a breakdown of how some of these start-ups have grown from pre-seed funding to Series funding and what they plan to do in the future.

READ: Chipper Cash just raised $13.8 million Series A funding

Flutterwave

  • According to Crunchbase, Flutterwave has raised a total of $64.7million since it was founded in 2016.
  • Flutterwave provides digital payments infrastructure and services which enable global merchants, payment service providers, and pan-African banks to accept and process payments across various channels. The company first raised $19.2M in their Series A funding and an extended $10million still in Series A.
  • The new capital was used to acquire more talent and also fuel rapid expansion across Africa. In January 2020, the company completed a $35 million Series B round. The new funding was used to support its expansion across Francophone countries and North Africa as part of its mission to connect Africa.

READ: Field Intelligence raises $3.6 million to take advantage of pharmacy cravings in Nigeria

54 gene

  • 54 gene is equalizing precision medicine by including underrepresented Africans in global genomics research.
  • According to Crunchbase, the company has raised a total of $19.7M in funding over 3 rounds. 54gene raised $4.5M in their seed round from Y combinator.
  • It recently closed a $15 million Series A round. These new funds will be used to address the gap that exists in precision medicine for people in the African continent.

READ: Our major challenge is eliminating paper – Tito Ovia of Helium Health

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Sigma Pensions

Kuda Bank

  • Kuda Bank provides a full banking service on your smartphone. Since moving from kudi money to Kuda Bank, the startup has raised a total of $11.6M in funding over 3 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Nov 10, 2020 from a seed round according to CrunchBase.
  • They first raised $1.6 million in a pre-seed round to launch a beta of its service, then subsequently raised $10 million — the biggest seed round ever to be raised in Africa.
  • This money will be used to help accelerate its growth plans and keep up with customer demand. Specifically, funds will be used for key hires, product development, and to expand operations across Africa.

READ: Nigeria’s Kuda raises Africa’s all-time seed round of $10 million

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Spleet

  • Spleet, just like Airbnb, provides easier living in Africa with access to flexible subscription-based rental and lifestyle services.
  • After bootstrapping for 18 months, Spleet closed a US$265,000 pre-seed round in 2019 and is currently raising a seed round.
  • According to disrupt-africa, Spleet is planning to expand to Ghana in the second quarter of 2021, and Kenyan and Rwanda in Q3.

READ: Nigeria Fintech startup, CredPal raises $1.5million funding

One pipe

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  • A Nigerian fintech API company that aggregates APIs from banks and fintechs into a standardized gateway that is easy to integrate and makes partnerships with other service providers seamless raised $950,000 in a pre-seed round from a roster of institutional and angel investors.
  • According to CrunchBase, the API company has raised a total of $1.1million in funding over 2 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Dec 17, 2020, from a Pre-Seed round. With OnePipe, fintechs and banks can collaborate closely to achieve mutual growth rather than compete.

READ: DEAL: Tomato Jos secures over N1.8billion series A funding

Evolve Credit

  • An online marketplace for Nigerians to secure their best loan options.
  • Evolve credit shows you all the information you need to apply for loans from lending platforms. The company has raised a total of $325K in funding over 2 rounds.

READ: From Pre-Seed to Series D: Startup Funding Rounds Explained

Helium health

  • Helium Health has raised a total of $12.2million in funding over 5 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on August 12, 2020 from a Series A round.
  • Founded in 2016, Helium Health has become the leading provider of full-service technology solutions for healthcare stakeholders in Africa.
  • The Lagos based health start-up raised $10 million Series A round.
  • According to Tech crunch, Helium plans to use the latest funding round to hire and expand to North and East Africa, including Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Morocco.

READ: Explained: How startups are valued – Part 2

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Janet John is a graduate of Chemical Engineering from the University of Uyo. She specializes in technical writing where she creates easy to read documentation, articles to clearly and efficiently explain highly complex processes. When she is not writing, she works as a freelance front-end developer

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Billionaire Watch

Elon Musk gains $19bn in 3 days, gap with Jeff Bezos shrinks to $4bn

Elon Musk’s wealth jumped from $175bn as of last week Saturday to $194bn this morning.

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Elon Musk, Tesla, SEC, Stock, Twitter, COVID-19: Tesla’s Elon Musk to produce ventilators as fast-spread of disease lingers

Elon Musk has witnessed an eventful past three days as his wealth leapt from $175 billion (as of last week Saturday) to $194 billion this morning.

The eccentric businessman has now closed the gap between himself and Jeff Bezos to just about $4bn according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Nairametrics is quickly going to highlight the reasons for the recent massive surge of dollars for Elon Musk.

Tesla share price increase

According to Market Watch, Tesla stocks ended yesterday at their highest value in 8 weeks. The electric car company stock price increased by 8.6% and sold at $762.32.

According to Motley Fool, the reason for this increase is a generally upbeat mood in the market about growth stocks. It also believed the increase was driven by optimistic comments about Tesla stocks by trusted analysts.

A surge in Tesla car sales

According to Nairametrics finance department, Tesla delivery of new cars in the last 3 months of the year exceeded Wall Street expectations. Tesla delivered 184,800 new cars from January to March. This number exceeded Wall Street expectations pegged at 177,000 cars.

What you should know

  • Jeff Bezos only gained $1bn in the last 3 days, the same duration of days Elon Musk gained $19bn according to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s index.
  • Tesla is currently being portrayed and compared to Apple. The EV carmakers are modelling their vehicles and branding them to fit the “Apple of electric cars” persona. This was made public by Canaccord Genuity analyst Jed Dorsheimer. This also played a role in the surge of stock prices.
  • Tesla is currently the most valuable car company in the world with a market capitalization of $593.8 billion according to Yahoo Finance.

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Business News

Top digital banking apps in Nigeria

These digital banking apps have offered a more convenient full-banking experience to their users.

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Top Digital Banking Apps in Nigeria

Traditional banks have been facing stiff competition from fast-rising digital banks. These digital banks emerged with higher consumer demand and have offered a more convenient full-banking experience to their users including higher interest rates on savings thereby attracting more people to adopt their services.

This has caused some traditional banks like Wema Bank and Sterling Bank to adopt this trend and also develop their own digital banking platforms.

Here is a list of the top digital banking apps in Nigeria.

Vbank

VFD Microfinance Bank is a fully digital bank that offers a wide range of financial products and services to professionals and entrepreneurs across all sectors. The digital bank has over 100,000 downloads on Playstore. They offer zero charges on transactions. Free account maintenance, monthly interest on savings, swift and secure transfers, withdrawals, and bill payments.

Pros

  • Instant account opening without any paperwork.
  • Fingerprint authorization: Login with your fingerprint and authorize transactions using your 4-digit PIN.
  • Good customer service.
  • Set up and track your spend budgets.
  • Order debit cards from the apps.
  • USSD banking service available.
  • Easy bill payments on the app.
  • Target savings with 8% interest rate.

User complaints

  • New update causes app to crash.
  • Upgrading KYC takes relatively longer.

Kuda bank

Kuda Bank is a free, digital-only bank with a microfinance banking license from the Central Bank of Nigeria. The bank includes tools for tracking your spending habits, saving more, and making the right money moves. They don’t charge card maintenance or account maintenance fees. Kuda has 1M+ downloads on Playstore. Its customers get 25 free transfers to other banks every month.

Pros

Sigma Pensions
  • Free debit cards.
  • Good user experience.
  • Free withdrawals at over 3,000 ATMs across Nigeria.
  • 15% annual interest rates on savings.
  • No paperwork involved when signing up.
  • Automatic budgeting tools for easier money management.

User complaints

  • Cards often take a long time to arrive.
  • No SMS notification when you get credited.
  • No USSD code option for transactions.
  • Identity verification takes time.

AlatbyWema

ALAT is Nigeria’s first fully digital bank, designed to help you do more with your money. Alat is owned by Wema bank. Just like every other digital bank, there is no need to visit a bank to open an account. Alat has over 500,000 downloads on Playstore.

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Pros

  • Free bank card delivery anywhere in Nigeria.
  • A Virtual Dollar Card for online payments.
  • Bill payments option.
  • Collateral-free loans are available.
  • Save easily with automated goal saving.

User complaints

  • The virtual card does not yet work.
  • Delay in physical card delivery.

Sparkle

Sparkle is a lifestyle and finance app. It is a digital ecosystem providing financial, lifestyle, and business support services to Nigerians around the world. Licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sparkle is all about helping people achieve what they want, whether it’s entertainment, education, saving, or investing in the future. Sparkle has over 100,000+ downloads on the play store.

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Pros

  • Create an account with just your Bank Verification Number (BVN), email address and phone number.
  • If you ever lose or misplace your card, you can freeze and unfreeze it in the Sparkle app.
  • Save using Sparkle Stash for different goals at the same time.
  • Percentage savings where you determine what percentage of your account balance will be going to your savings every day, week or month!
  • Get real-time instant notifications for your transactions.
  • Bill payments; Pay your bills whenever you want, wherever you are.
  • Split bills with friends and family on the app.
  • Physical and virtual cards available.

User complaints

  • New update causes the app to crash.
  • Reversal on failed transaction takes time.
  • Cards can’t be used for international transactions.
  • Poor customer service.

Mint App

MyMintApp is a self-service platform developed for customers to carry out a range of digital and mobile banking transactions on their accounts. It offers customers benefits such as convenience, speed, online real-time access, the security of transactions and options to initiate basic service requests without having to physically visit the bank.

MyMintApp also offers different banking services such as SME Banking, Personal Banking, Corporate Banking, Internet Banking (Electronic Banking), Current Account Opening, Savings Account Opening, Business Services, Loans, e-Business Solutions, Personalized Money Tracking and Card Solutions, etc. Mint has over 10,000+ downloads on Playstore.

Pros

  • Good customer service.
  • Seamless account funding via Paystack or directly from your existing bank account.
  • Different saving goals with competitive interest rates to help you save for a targeted purpose.
  • Money Manager to help you tag your expenses according to the most common categories, and see real views of how and where you spend monthly.
  • Zero transaction fees on bill payments.

User complaints

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  • No bonus when you refer someone to the app.
  • The selfie verification process takes time.

Onebank

Onebank brings a whole new financial and non-financial experience to the digital space. This application comes with sophisticated features and an impeccable user experience. It is highly secure, convenient, and easy to use. Onebank also offers payments, lending, investment, advisory, informational, and lifestyle services which brings that intuitive banking experience on your mobile. Onebank is owned by Sterling Bank

Pros

  • Create a wallet account instantly with your mobile number.
  • Biometric authentication.
  • Instantly create your virtual card for online shopping and decide the card’s usage and expiry.
  • Investments; enjoy up to 100% returns on Naira and Dollar investments.
  • Quick loans of up to N5 million in 5 minutes.
  • Receive money from Onebank user via QR code scan.
  • Pay for airline tickets, cable & internet subscription directly on the app.
  • Cardless withdrawals are available.

User complaints 

  • Prone to error when you try to sign in.
  • Bad user experience.
  • Transaction history only shows debits and not credit transaction.
  • Failed transactions take time to be reversed.
  • Difficulty when you try to switch devices.

Rubies

Rubies is a digital bank that disrupts regular banking by providing 100% digital top-notch services and technology at its peak. With Rubies, you can decide what your account number looks like. Rubies give you the financial freedom to do more than just banking and the app has garnered over 100,000 downloads on Playstore.

app

Pros

  • No maintenance fees.
  • Free Debit Cards: Also comes with an option of free delivery.
  • Independent Banker: Refer people and earn every time they transact on Rubies.
  • Customizable Account: Decide what your Account Number looks like.
  • Proximity Transfer: Transfer money easily to friends on Rubies around you with a single tap.
  • Open Account: Get an account on the fly, from anywhere (App, Website).
  • Request Money: Request funds from friends on Rubies with a single button.

User complaints

  • Verification process takes time.
  • BVN verification unstable.
  • App downtime takes more than 24 hours to resolve.
  • Difficulties upgrading account.

 

Why this matters

With the increasing number of digital banks and fintech startups, the competition for acquiring and retaining new and old customers is getting stiffer. More traditional banks will need to adopt digital banking to stay competitive.

 

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