CrowdForce, a Nigerian agency banking platform backed by Y Combinator, has secured US$3.6 million in a pre-Series A funding round to increase its PayForce agent network this year and expand its financial service offerings to underserved Nigerian communities.
Aruwa Capital Management led the pre-Series A round, which was split between equity and debt and included HAVAC and AAIC.
CrowdForce plans to use the funds to grow its team, geographical operations, and marketing efforts in order to expand its agent network. This year, CrowdForce wants to expand the number of active agents it has.
It also intends to provide more point-of-sale terminals to small businesses, such as gas stations, pharmacies, and aggregators/resellers, so that they can operate as mobile bank branches.
Since 2020, CrowdForce has been cash positive and has served 1.9 million unique customers across 25 Nigerian states.
CrowdForce was founded in 2018 after a pivot and relaunch by Oluwatomi and Damilola Ayorinde, who founded Mobile Forms in 2015 as a data analytics platform that provides insights on hard-to-reach rural and semi-peri urban communities.
The company has developed a financial services distribution technology that can quickly transform any merchant into a mobile bank branch.
Data analytics are used to create financial service offerings that truly address financial inclusion. Its PayForce product is a point-of-sale (PoS)-enabled system that offers ATM, transfer, and bill payment services.
“Fintechs and challenger banks are emerging in Africa to deliver better financial services via digital rails. It’s a fantastic development in the market, but cash is clearly still king in Nigeria. Ninety-seven per cent of retail transactions happen offline. There is a clear need to build an offline distribution network to enable fintechs and challengers to reach the mass market – this is exactly what we’re doing at CrowdForce, and this round will accelerate our momentum even more,” said Oluwatomi Ayorinde, CrowdForce’s CEO and co-founder.
“We are excited to lead this investment in CrowdForce. We see significant value in the product as it is solving a real problem by providing access to critical financial services in rural areas that have been overlooked by traditional financial institutions. CrowdForce is actively deepening financial inclusion through its products and services, and has unique competitive advantages through its proprietary technology and extensive agent distribution network across the country,” said Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes, Aruwa Capital founder and managing partner.