Akiba Digital, a South African fintech startup that lowers the barriers to entry for small businesses to get financing through its lending partners, has raised more than US$1.1 million in pre-seed funding to help it expand its market share.
Akiba Digital, which was founded in 2017, provides lenders with detailed credit analytics and real-time lending decisions, allowing them to better extend funds to small enterprises and people.
The startup uses alternative datasets to provide inclusive scores that allow lenders to score people and small businesses who aren’t accessible to traditional credit bureaus – a problem that affects nearly 80% of small businesses and individuals in Africa.
Expert DOJO and Oui Capital led the US$1.1 million pre-seed funding round, which also included Basecamp Fund, Soma Capital, Hustle Fund, Future Africa, LoftyInc, a former PayPal executive, and a few angel investors.
“The fundraise will also help us assess other African markets that we are looking to scale into,” said Tebogo Mokwena, chief executive officer (CEO) of Akiba Digital.
“Our goal is to be in 10+ African markets in two to three years, enabling millions of small businesses and individuals to access better financing through our alternative scoring. Longer term we want to scale into South America and ultimately be one of Africa’s unicorns to IPO by 2027.”
Akiba Digital has already seen a 5X increase in revenue month over month, and has also developed Insyts, a SME platform that allows SMEs in need of capital to apply for funding and track their financial health all in one place. Meanwhile, in the aftermath of recent riots and looting in regions of South Africa, it has established a Mandela Day initiative to provide zero-rate financing to 67 SMEs that have been badly affected by the problems.
South Africa is the starting point for Akiba but their objective is to build an inclusive financial ecosystem for any small business in Africa.