Payhippo,an artificial intelligence-driven lending platform that provides loans to small businesses has raised $1 million in a pre-seed round. Investors in this round include Ventures Platform, Future Africa, Launch Africa, and Sherpa Ventures with participation from international investors like Hustle Fund and Mercy Corps Ventures.
Payhippo was founded in 2020 by Zach Bijesse, Chioma Okocha, and Uche Nnadi with an aim of supporting Africa’s 40 million small and medium-sized businesses obtain access to the finances they need to succeed.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) employ a large percentage of the people in Nigeria, however the SMEs sector in Africa is largely underserved by commercial banks. The majority of small business owners in the country struggle to obtain formal financial products or services, such as loans. Payhippo is trying to solve the problem of SMEs being unable to acquire loans, which is limiting their growth potential.
Since its launch, Payhippo has disbursed N1.44 billion in over 2,600 loans to businesses, most of which are community grocery stores or small retail shops. The startup claims to have recorded a 97% repayment rate and is currently making a 25% M-o-M revenue growth.
The startup plans to use the fund to expand its reach to more Nigerian cities and also build its team of engineers. Apart from this, it plans to hire a Head of Finance to match the business’ current growth rate.
“Small businesses are at the core of Africa’s economic growth and we are thrilled to partner with Zach, Chioma & Uche as they build PayHippo. They are essentially bridging the $158 billion SME financing gap,” said Kola Aina, General Partner at Ventures Platform Fund.