Umba, a Nigerian digital banking platform operating in Lagos, Nigeria, has raised $15 million in Series A funding to expand financial products to underserved population across Africa.
The new funding follows a $2 million seed round in 2020, bringing the total funding received till date to $17.5 million.
Nubank and other investors like Tom Blomfield, the co-founder of Monzo, and previous backers Lachy Groom and ACT Ventures, Lux Capital, Palm Drive Capital, Banana Capital and Streamlined Ventures participated in this round with VC firm Costanoa Ventures leading the round.
According to the startup, the new funding will allow the company to test out interoperable digital banking experience across African markets as it prepares to launch in new markets, including Egypt, Ghana and Kenya, where mobile money is prominent.
What they are saying
Tiernan Kennedy told TechCrunch that it is utilizing a customer-first approach, rather than buying off-the-shelf banking systems and customising them for customers. He said, “For us, we designed core banking systems from the ground up and can deliver a customized experience for the customer at the drop of a hat in both banking and mobile money markets.
“We can take in all that open banking data and underwrite at scale with these different fragmented payment types and data types. What that means for us, in practice, is that we’re multi-currency, we can go multi-country, we can do all different payment types. And that takes time. But then when you get your ability to move extremely fast against competitors.”
Tiernan also revealed that the startup will make some expansions product-wise, rolling out debit cards, savings accounts, and stock trading in the next 18 months. He said, “Right now, we’ve solved for credits and spending; what’s next is savings and investments, creating new markets opening up, that means hiring up staff in our three new markets.”