Pan-African embedded finance Fintech Pezesha has raised a pre-series A investment of $11 Million to grow its presence in East Africa and expand its digital lending infrastructure to the West African market.
The round was a mix of $6 million equity and $5 million debt. The funding round was led by Women’s World Banking Capital Partners II (WWBCP II). Other investors include Verdant Frontiers Fintech Fund (an early-stage African Fintech Fund focused on accelerating financial inclusion), cFund and IOG, ventures investing in innovations layering blockchain infrastructure, Talanton (values-driven private impact investment fund) and Verdant Capital Specialist Funds investing debt in this round.
Founded in 2017 by Hilda Moraa, Pezesha offers a B2B digital lending infrastructure focused on providing affordable working capital to financially excluded SMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa. This sector is estimated to face a $328 Billion financing gap.
Commenting on the investment, Hildah said: “This round has brought together strategic investors who underpin the fundamentals of financial inclusion in their thesis and we believe these combined experiences will help us accelerate and enable millions of MSMEs across African value chains to access affordable working capital.”
“We’re excited to join Pezesha’s journey,” said Christina “CJ” Juhasz, Chief Investment Officer, Women’s World Banking Asset Management. “Pezesha is dedicated to solving Africa’s working capital problem through its robust lending infrastructure and this investment will allow them to deepen the range of financial products offering especially to women-owned MSMEs. We look forward to teaming up with Pezesha as it drives financial inclusion in Africa and continues to increase the number of women served in its business ecosystem.”
Pezesha also announced it is opening up the debt liquidity market by working with strategic institutional investors such as IOG-Cardano. Through this partnership, the company says it would access affordable capital by layering DeFi liquidity channels on top of the scalable digital lending infrastructure.
Co-founder of IOG and Cardano, Charles Hoskinson: “I’m delighted to announce our investment in Pezesha. Facilitating the movement of capital into emerging markets to support economic growth and job creation is a core promise of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Our vision is centred on using technology to make it easier for people across the globe to borrow and lend to each other in a regulated way. This investment in Pezesha is an important milestone, and we’re excited to be a part of their growth story.”
Currently, Pezesha offers productive credit to tech-enabled platforms such as Twiga Foods, Jumia and Marketforce among dozens of others.
It allows partners to integrate with its APIs and offer credit among other financial services to their merchant network at the point of sale. Pezesha’s credit scoring APIs act as the engine of a simple but robust process where MSMEs receive real-time loan offers to purchase stock and pay later.
Pezesha also offers financial literacy courses and debt counselling to MSMEs who do not qualify for loans in order to improve their credit scoring and ensure responsible borrowing as they grow within the Pezesha financial ladder.
In the last 2 years, the company says it has grown the value of its disbursements by over 2,000 per cent through the disbursement of more than 100,000 loans to MSMEs in Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana.