Kippa, the financial management and payments platform for Nigerian small businesses, has announced that it has raised $8.4M in a new financing round. The startup provides digital business and financial management solutions to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. It has garnered backing from international investors to develop products that will help SMEs grow their businesses.
Even as tens of millions of Africans have come online in the past decade, most merchants in Nigeria still run their businesses offline. Running a small business is chaotic, from managing money to keeping track of inventory, business records, staff, and suppliers. Shopkeepers are confronted with manual processes or expensive technology that are time-consuming and prone to errors and wall them off from access to finance to run their businesses.
"We expect the number of digitally active small businesses to grow exponentially over the next three to five years. As more small businesses come online, Kippa will own the money button on the devices of these merchants, says Kippa CEO Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph.
Founded in June 2021, Kippa raised pre-seed funding of $3.2 million in November 2021 with the idea of onboarding merchants to a simple-to-use mobile bookkeeping app to help them digitise bookkeeping and recover customer debt. Today, the company has further expanded its offerings. It provides a suite of financial services that enable small-sized business owners to incorporate their businesses legally, open bank accounts, receive and send payments, builds online web stores, and manage their entire business from one platform.
As part of the oversubscribed round, Kippa welcomed global investors, including Goodwater Capital, TEN13 VC, Rocketship VC, Saison Capital (the venture arm of Credit Saison), Crestone VC (led by Inanc Balci, Co-founder and former CEO at Lazada), VentureSouq, Horizon Partners and Vibe Capital.
Since the pre-seed announcement in November 2021, the company has made tremendous progress in recruiting ex-regulators and former senior executives at top startups, including OPay, BharatPe, Khatabook, TeamApt, OKCredit, NIBSS, and Unified Payments, amongst others. Some key appointments include hiring immediate past Deputy Managing Director at the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), Niyi Ajao as Chairman; Toyin Albert as Executive Director of Payments Services; and Osagie Alonge as Director of Marketing.
Spread across all 774 local governments in Nigeria, serving over 500,000 merchants within its network, the company has seen the annualised transaction recorded on the platform exceed $3 billion.
Kippa has also obtained a licence from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to operate as a Super Agent under the Payment Solution Service licence category. The licence allows Kippa to leverage its explosive merchant distribution to turn everyday neighbourhood shops into a one-stop shop for essential financial services such as cash withdrawals and deposits, bank account opening, bills and utility payments, and insurance. The EFInA "Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2020 Survey" estimates that about 49.3 million business owners are running SMEs in the country. Ekezie-Joseph believes Kippa is well positioned as these SMEs' go-to financial service provider.
"Our mission is to make it easy for anyone to start and run profitable small businesses in Africa. It is why we are building a full suite of software and financial services that enables this ambition, thereby empowering African business owners. We say this because we've spent time understanding their most significant needs," says Ekezie-Joseph.
Founded in June 2021, Kippa is a disruptive fintech startup based in Nigeria. The team is on a mission to unlock socio-economic prosperity in sub-Saharan Africa by helping SMEs grow their business and embrace financial inclusion. The company provides digital business and financial management solutions for African SMEs to enable them to grow.