Kudi.ai, the Nigerian leader in digital payment and collection for the cash economy, has completed its Series A financing raising USD5Million to accelerate the growth of its distributed bank agents in Nigeria. The financing was led by Partech and joined by Michael Siebel of Y-Combinator (YC CEO). Existing investors, Khosla Ventures and YC also participated in this new round. Kudi will leverage its Series A to grow its network of bank agents across Nigeria and launch other financial services in partnership with banks and fintech to serve millions of Nigerians.
According to the lead investor, Partech, 90% of all transactions in Africa still rely on cash. More specifically in Nigeria, 80% of the population works informally and is paid cash in hand. With figures still as high as this, digital solutions alone are not enough: Kudi’s agent network bridges this gap. Kudi’s mission is to make financial services accessible and affordable for all Africans. Kudi does this by enabling underbanked and unbanked Africans access to basic financial services like money transfers, bill payments and cash withdrawals through an agent’s network. Since its launch in January 2017, Kudi has grown its agent network to over 4,500 merchants and is adding new agents every day. The company makes it easy for agents to sign-up and have more visibility into their day-to-day operations. Kudi process over $30 million in payments each month.
Olubunmi Abayomi-Olukunle, the chair of Balogun Harold’s Private Equity and Venture Capital practice, commented – “We are delighted to have advised Partech on this successful transaction and definitely look forward to a storied exit and hopefully, public listing for Partech and Kudi respectively. Overall, this is an incredibly important transaction for the Nigerian economy at this time. Kudi’s current focus aligns with the government’s policy to aggressively drive financial inclusion in Nigeria. Financial inclusion remains a key priority for the Nigerian government which has now introduced a number of initiatives and innovative license categories ( like the SANEF Programme and the Payment Service Banks License category) to drive financial inclusion. The transaction is particularly important to us at Balogun Harold, having provided sell-side advisory on Partech’s first venture capital investment in Nigeria in 2018. It also further demonstrates the strength and breadth of Balogun Harold’s capability in the private equity & venture capital patch in Nigeria and a validation of the deep sector-approach that Balogun Harold practices.”
Tidjane Dème, General Partner at Partech said: “Agent networks are the backbone of African digitization as they offer an effective way of distributing digital services. We believe that Yinka and Pelumi have the right vision to build the best platform for agent networks. The Kudi team has built an excellent product that their agents love to use. As a result, Kudi has demonstrated an impressive growth since its inception.”
“For an economy that largely depends on cash, the growth of digital payments in Nigeria will be accelerated by Kudi as they provide a gateway between cash and digital, and we think that’s a huge opportunity.” said Michael Seibel from Y Combinator.
“We’re excited about the growth we’ve experienced over the last 12 months. We literally grew from processing $1.1M to $30M monthly with the same team. Going forward, we’ll be hiring engineers, product managers and product designers to ensure our product is 10X better than what’s on the market today even as we grow our network of agents”, says Yinka Adewale, Kudi’s Co-Founder and CEO.
Kudi’s mission is to make financial services accessible and affordable for all Africans. Kudi does this by enabling underbanked and unbanked Africans access basic financial services like money transfers, bill payments and cash withdrawals through their agent network. Kudi, a YC alumni, was founded in Nigeria in 2016 by Yinka Adewale (Co-Founder, CEO) and Pelumi Aboluwarin (Co-Founder, CTO).See more: https://kudi.co/
About Kudi’s founders:
Kudi was founded by a complementary duo of very strong entrepreneurs: Yinka Adewale (Co-Founder, CEO) and Pelumi Aboluwarin (Co-Founder, CTO). Before cofounding Kudi, Yinka Adewale, a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, cofounded Sanwo Touch2pay, originally a payment platform for university students in Nigeria and he cofounded clinicfy, a cloud based financial software for hospitals to track their revenues and invoices. Pelumi Aboluwarin, a Machine Learning and Software Engineer previously cofounded Qwikgist, a news aggregation service acquired by Businessday and worked in a variety of software engineering roles for companies like Nexmo (acquired by Vonage) and Jumia (they recently filed for an IPO on NYSE).
Partech is a global investment firm with offices in San Francisco, Paris, Berlin and Dakar. We bring together capital, operational experience and strategic support for entrepreneurs at seed, venture and growth stages across multiple continents, with over $1.2B investment capacity. Investments range from $200K to $50M in a wide range of technologies and businesses for enterprises and consumers, from software, digital brands and services, to hardware and deep tech across all major industries. Companies backed by Partech have completed more than 20 initial public offerings and more than 50 strategic exits above $100M
Source: Partech & Balogun Harold