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Nigerian fintech startup Okra racks up $1 million in pre-seed funding.
Okra, a popular Nigerian fintech startup has raised $1 million in a pre-seed funding round. Even more surprising is the fact that the funding round was led by TLcom Capital.
A $71 million Venture Capitalist firm that hardly invests in start-up fintech firms. Less than a year since its launch, Okra has made a lot of commendable achievements.
$71 million Venture Capitalist firm that hardly invests in start-up fintech firms. Less than a year since its launch, Okra has made a lot of commendable achievements.
Okra is designed to generate income from popular financial institutions as well as from startup firms. Founded last June, by Nigerians Fara Ashiru Jituboh and David Peterside, the Lagos based API developer firm prides itself on being a “motherboard for the continent’s 21st-century financial system”.
Ashiru pointed out that as a team, “We’re building a super-connector API”. One that enables users to connect third-party applications to their bank account with ease.
Adding that, “[…]and that’s their African bank accounts starting in the largest market in Africa, Nigeria”.
African’s Fintech Space
Financial technology (Fintech) is currently Africa’s most funded tech space with an estimated $2 billion in VC funds last year.
According to research, including that of The Global Findex Database, Africa has the highest percentage of unbanked and underbanked people in the world. With SMEs representing an ample percentage of those underbanked. Africa is home to over 1.2 billion people in over 54 countries.
Like US company Plaid, Kra is looking to give the African financial sector a reliable structure. Serving as a platform that links accounts and all forms of financial data to banking apps.
With an estimated 200 million people, Nigeria serves as an important financial center. Yet there’s a huge gap between fintech applications and financial institutions (banks).
Ashiru added that “Here in this market there’s no way to directly connect your bank account through an API or directly to an application”.
Okra currently has several paid packages for different types of integration for interested firms. It also provides developers with its five product sections namely, authorization, balance, transactions, identity, and accounts.
The fintech startup has formulated a well-rounded client list containing top online payments firms like Carbon, insurer Axa Mansard, online bank Branch, and Nigerian digital lender Renmoney.
Revenue is gotten via fees earned every time a user comments an account to a customer. Unlike other popular fintech firms in Nigeria like Flutterwave, Interswitch, Okra doesn’t deal with payments. They only simplify the payment process.
CEO Ashiru Jituboh is a software engineer and a former staff member of Finance Giant JP Morgan Chase and Fidelity Investments. She decided to launch out on her own, following a visit to Nigeria and noticing the huge gap between financial institutions and fintech applications.
“When we knew that it was a big addressable market is when we realized that all these fintech CEOs and CTOs were struggling with this use case,” she added.
Okra is currently on the hunt for talented engineers. And has plans to foray into other African countries in the near future.