Umba, the Lagos-based digital bank for emerging markets has raised $15 million Series A to continue rapid growth in Nigeria and expand into Egypt, Ghana and Kenya where mobile money and digital banking is popular.
The round was led by Costanoa Ventures and joined by Lux Capital, Palm Drive Capital, Banana Capital and Streamlined Ventures, as well as previous investors, including Lachy Groom and ACT Ventures. The company also received new angel investment from neobanking pioneers such as Monzo founder Tom Blomfield and executives from NuBank.
Umba will also use the cash expand its operations and product offerings in Nigeria and roll out new products, such debit cards, savings accounts and stock trading, to enable their customers to take control of their financial lives.
According to Umba CEO Tiernan Kennedy, “This is a great milestone for Umba, and we’re excited to bring in new partners to fuel our growth. Mark Selcow at Costanoa Ventures is a seasoned operator and investor who brings extensive company building experience to our Board. There is great potential for Umba to provide useful, accessible products and services that financially empower underserved customers. We see huge growth potential in Nigeria as well as some exciting new markets – we’ll have more on that later this year”.
Umba brings a wide range of transparent and accessible financial products to those underserved by legacy banks across Africa. The African digital banking platform offers customers an unparalleled, full mobile banking application, opening up a range of new financial services that are transparent, low fee, and informed by analytics to intelligently service customers. Features include free bank accounts, interbank transfers, peer-to-peer money transfers, bill payments and credit products. Umba plans to launch virtual debit cards and savings accounts soon- without needing to levy punitive fees.
Umba has recently added several key hires from established fintech companies to their team. Executives include the ex-CFO of Interswitch (Nigeria’s first unicorn), the CTO and CAO from Calypso Technology, and senior staff from Carbon and Zynga. They will continue to hire top talent across the company to support its strong growth throughout the year.
“This investment allows us to continue to hire the best people across banking and Fintech to build something new from the ground up, centred around our customers’ everyday needs. Over the past year, we’ve experienced rapid growth in our customer base and payment volume, which validates just how much customer demand is in the market for our product.” expressed CFO and Co-Founder, Barry O’Mahony.