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Sub Saharan Africa has seen some amazing ventures. In fact, it has become a very attractive place to invest. The reason is that there are so many opportunities to make big money. But there are also risks involved. So it’s best to make sure you are doing your research. And if you are, you can make your investments in the right way.
Pngme, a San Francisco-based fintech firm, recently closed a $15 million Series A round of funding led by Octopus Ventures, Unshackled Ventures, Raptor Group, EchoVC, and Future Africa alinaimagine. The firm is focused on bringing financial data infrastructure to banks in sub-Saharan Africa.
Pngme provides a scalable API architecture for financial institutions, providing a data-driven approach to financial services. It claims to provide actionable insights into the individual financial behaviour of consumers. This includes monitoring transactions, identity verification, and balances.
Pngme’s offering has gained traction with credit bureaus, traditional and digital financial services providers, and fintechs. In addition to a broader range of data, Pngme offers developer tools, machine learning tools, and a mobile SDK. With the recent launch of its lending platform, Pngme is set to become a full-scale player in the financial data infrastructure space.
The biometric authentication firm iiDENTIFii has secured $15 million in growth capital to continue its nascent growth. This round of funding came from the likes of Sanari Capital and Rabobank Partnerships, among others. While the company has already secured contracts with several of the continent’s largest pan-African banks and insurance companies, it plans to make its presence felt across the entire African sands.
iiDENTIFii’s patented biometric authentication system uses facial, iris and fingerprint scanning to verify user identities using a variety of hardware devices, from a smartphone to a PC. It is currently used by some of the continent’s biggest names, including Absa, Investec Bank, Standard Bank and UBA. Previously, iiDENTIFii was named a winner in the Microsoft Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Partner of the Year, and was recognized as a KPMG Private Enterprise Tech Innovator in Africa for the best new technology that is likely to be implemented in the near future.
Umba is a consumer focused digital bank built in Africa. It is currently operating in Nigeria and plans to expand into other African markets. The company offers a full mobile banking application, loans, savings accounts, bill payments, and P2P money transfers. Customers also have access to a virtual debit card and interbank transfers.
Umba aims to provide banking services to underserved populations in Africa. Its credit solutions are based on proprietary data supplied by its customers. It also uses analytics to intelligently serve its customers.
A new round of funding will help Umba to continue its rapid growth and launch new offerings. As of now, Umba has more than a million installs on the Google Play Store. They have recently hired key executives from companies like Zynga, Carbon, and Interswitch.
Chanzo Capital is an investment firm focused on scale-ups and high-tech startups in sub-Saharan Africa. The firm is currently a $10 million fund, with plans to raise a $50-$100 million fund to fuel future growth. They will invest in technology, scale-ups and logistics to help African tech start-ups scale to the next level.
Chanzo Capital is not the only investment firm in the sub-Saharan African startup space. There is also the Adei Institute of Technology, a 501c3 public charity, as well as Calvert Impact Capital and Mercy Corps Ventures, which are both non-profit investment firms. These organizations are also based in Africa, but focus on emerging markets. In particular, they will make the aforementioned fintech, logistics and other e-commerce related investments. Similarly, Brightmore Capital is a Francophone West Africa-based investment management firm.
CDC Group is a UK development finance institution. It is the largest impact investor in Africa. The CDC Group has committed US$106 million to five investment funds. They include Convergence Partners Digital Infrastructure Fund, which will invest in ICT infrastructure greatofmining in sub-Saharan Africa, and the Momentum Africa Real Estate Fund.
The Convergence Partners Digital Infrastructure Fund will invest in Internet of Things (IoT), wireless networks, and digital infrastructure. Its investments will provide affordable mobile connectivity to rural communities and support the growth of the ICT sector in Africa.
CDC Group’s commitments to Investing in Sub-Saharan Africa also include the creation of the Divercity Urban Property Fund. This will fund the management of 2,500 new residential units in Johannesburg. This will also provide environmentally friendly and affordable housing for low and middle-income households.