Kudi, the Nigerian leader of digital payment and collection for the cash economy, raises a Series A led by Partech and joined by Michael Seibel (YC CEO). Existing investors Khosla Ventures and YC also participated. 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. It brings the company’s total investment to US$6.7mn. Tidjane Dème, General Partner at Partech and Co-lead of the Partech Africa Fund, will join Kudi’s Board.
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. They process over U$30mn in payments each month.
“We're excited about the growth we've experienced over the last 12 months. We literally grew from processing US$1.1mn to US$30mn 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.
With the funding, Kudi will grow its team and recruit 15 new team members as well as continue to grow its agent network. Kudi’s strategy is to partner with commercial banks and other players in the financial services to launch new financial products such as savings, loans, insurance to both small and informal businesses and individuals.
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 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.
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