Brass, a Nigerian digital bank that provides small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) with easy access to affordable premium banking services, has secured $1.7 million in investment. The funding will be utilized to meet the banking needs of local entrepreneurs, traders, and fast-growing businesses, which are now underserved.
Ventures Platform led the round, which included Hustle Fund, Acuity Ventures, and Uncovered Fund. Angel investors including Olugbenga Agboola, CEO of Flutterwave, and Ezra Olubi, co-founder of Paystack, contributed to the funding.
Brass’ expansion into South Africa and Kenya, which began just a year ago, will be backed by the new funding. It will also kickstart a range of new product categories, including a push into the credit market as the company seeks to broaden its customer base.
Brass, founded by Sola Akindolu (former Head of Product at Kudi) and Emmanuel Okeke (former Engineering Manager at Paystack) in July 2020, provides SMEs with a full-stack, commercial-grade banking service across various business classes, allowing them to gain greater clarity and control over their money operations as well as the ability to scale their businesses.
Credit & payment services, payroll and expense management, API support, and other basic business services are currently available on the platform. Brass has supported thousands of firms to date, has disbursed over $2 million in credit, and has recently introduced Brass Capital, a cash-flow financing tool to help even more fast-growing businesses.
Many of Brass’ clients use the platform as their primary money transaction service provider, including Send.ng, Mono, and Eden, as well as restaurants, schools, and shopping malls. Flutterwave has also partnered with the platform to help it expand across Africa.
“The basic needs of Africa’s SMEs are just as significant and unique as those of the customers they serve each day and now more than ever, we need innovative and world-class financial services solutions that meet their expectations. These local businesses have supported our economies for decades, forming the backbone of Africa’s success to-date and now is the time to bet on them,” Akindolu, Brass’ chief executive officer (CEO), said.
“At Brass, we’ve made some great strides over the last year in tackling one of Africa’s most critically underserved customer bases but with an estimated US$5.1 trillion credit gap globally, our work is far from over. This is why we’re delighted to welcome onboard a number of vastly-experienced and strategic investors, whose expertise will not only play a vital role ahead of our expansion into South Africa and Kenya, but also in our future ambitions outside of the continent.”
Kola Aina, founder and general partner at Ventures Platform, said his firm had been “immediately sold” on Brass’ mission to make banking work for small businesses.
“For far too long banks have not worked for their customers. This challenge is even more chronic for small businesses, hence we are excited to be a Brass partner as they advance the mission to make banking work for African businesses – via their suite of products designed to help businesses succeed,” he said.