African fintech, Pngme raises $15 million Series A funding for growth and expansion

African fintech, Pngme raises $15 million Series A funding for growth and expansion - Startup Lagos

In yet another success story for African fintechs this year, Pngme, the San Francisco/Africa-based fintech, has secured over $15 million in a Series A funding round, that will enable it to better expand its operations and value across Africa. Through a unified API or mobile SDK, the platform enables stakeholders to act and collaborate on their customers’ and businesses’ financial data. This helps their clients to easily grow and reach new customer segments with real-time credit models. The company has its geographical reach spread across California, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

Just about six months back, the fintech had raised about $3 million seed round, with so much potential to scale and grow, especially with its touted machine learning-as-a-service value offering. This funding round was led by Octopus Ventures, followed by investment from Lateral Capital, EchoVC, Raptor Group, and Two Small Fish Ventures. Others such as Unshackled Ventures, Future Africa, Lagos-based Aruwa Capital, and The51, also participated in the round. This was also backed by high-net-worth individuals (HNIs) such as Hayden Simmons of RallyCap, Dan Kahn of Plaid, Kyle Ellicott of Intersect VC, and RBC Capital Markets’ Richard Talbot.

Founded by Brendan Playford and Cate Rung, in 2018, Pngme started out initially as a lending platform. Their initial interest was around providing access to finance for Africans. However, in delivering credit access, the founders stumbled on another problem, which is the lack of data infrastructure to access and substantiate risk when giving out these loans or capital. In growing these two ideas side-by-side, the founders realized the need to focus their energies on one singular goal. Identifying the pain point in the dearth of a clear data infrastructure in most of sub-Saharan Africa birthed the new impetus of Pngme. As Brendan Playford is quoted as saying,

There are 400 million people in sub-Saharan Africa that don’t have formal credit files.

Cate Rung and Brendan Playford. Source: Techcrunch, 2021

Through their platform, the company is able to aggregate a wide range of data that is delivered in a structured format, as a unified API or mobile SDK to developers, fintechs, or banks across the continent, to help them to utilize these insights in delivering the best to their own clients. Also, through the platform, the company offers consumers insights into their finances and financial wellness, through its customer management platform.

As Playford is quoted as saying, according to Techcrunch,

It’s a highly data-driven user experience. And every fintech or bank wants to provide that same data-driven user experience. From instant loans or savings, or overdrafts, or whatever it might be, it’s all just like a user experience around a product…if you get to the core of all the business problems for financial institutions, they’re looking at doing two things. One is they’re looking at lowering their customer acquisition costs. And then, they’re looking at increasing the lifetime value of their customers.

Most financial services companies and banks are looking at ways of serving their customers better and uncovering solutions that match their customer needs. To achieve this, they are looking at reducing the cost-to-serve of their products and services, while getting products and services that delight customers into the market. This is a weighty challenge that is better achieved through data insights into the financial behaviour of their customers. Pngme allows its clients the opportunity of focusing on their customers while leveraging the data that the platform brings to their fingertips.

Pngme is already partnering with a number of tier-one banks in Nigeria and South Africa, as well as fintechs such as Kuda, Umba, Renmoney, Simplefi, CredPal, and CashTopUp. With this new funding, the company’s total investment grows to over $18.5 million, with its interests in acquiring new customers to its platform, and growing its team strength. Pngme plans to utilize the funds raised to strengthen its team by bringing in Lorraine Kageni Maina as the Chief Strategy Officer and Nick Masson as the Chief Technology Officer while growing its team across other areas as well.

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Is African fintech really solving the financial inclusion gap?

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