South African Fintech Company Receives $24M Investment Earmarked For Expansion

By Peter Pedroncelli Published: November 8, 2017, 5:43 am
South African fintech company - JUMO software developers in Kenya. Photo - iAfrikanJUMO software developers in Kenya. Photo - iAfrikan

South African fintech company JUMO has secured a $24 million loan facility which will be dedicated to the firm’s expansion into Africa and Asia.

The substantial investment was provided by London-based Gemcorp Capital along with Finnish development finance company Finnfund, which contributed $6 million of the $24 million, according to ITWebAfrica.

JUMO, the financial services platform for emerging markets, analyzes user data collected from mobile phones and networks to predict whether a person is able to repay a loan, offering tailored financial products based on that analysis.

Since its inception in 2014 the company has disbursed 20 million loans ranging from as little as two dollars up to $50,000, according to VentureBurn.

JUMO founder and CEO Andrew Watkins-Ball expressed his excitement at achieving further investment through Gemcorp Capital and Finnfund, which he believes is in line with his company’s ethos.

“That aligns well with our mission. Having proven our model, we are now expanding our footprint to reach millions more people who are excluded from the formal financial system. With Finnfund we have an investor who supports our view that inequality is unacceptable,” Watkins-Ball said, according to Finnfund.

South African fintech company to expand

The fintech company will now use the funds to further expand operations across Africa and Asia, while also expanding their product offering and services to small and medium-sized businesses.

Operating in six African countries, with a particularly significant presence in Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia, JUMO was the first South African startup to be selected by Google for its Launchpad accelerator, reports ITNewsAfrica.

As a result a number of leaders within the company benefited from a two-week boot camp at Google’s headquarters in California between July 17 and 28, with six months ongoing support and mentorship, as well as $50,000 in funding allocated to the startup.

In July JUMO appointed Amazon EC2 founder Chris Pinkham as an active independent director of the company, according to a press release.

Cape Town University-educated Pinkham immediately began work for the South African company, having left his role as vice president of engineering at Twitter in February this year, and he is currently working with JUMO’s leadership team on technical and product strategy.

Pinkham has succeeded within various tech roles during his 30-year career, having co-founded South Africa’s first internet service provider, Internet Africa, in 1993, before running global network and systems engineering as vice president of engineering at Amazon, creating EC2 – the popular elastic cloud computing service.

In 2008, he co-founded Nimbula, a high-profile infrastructure software startup which was acquired by Oracle in 2013. Thereafter, he led Oracle’s development team responsible for public cloud services before joining Twitter in February 2015.

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