BusinessDay

TeamApt’s unicorn march caps record year for Nigeria’s fintech

TeamApt is in the market to raise $150 million that would push its valuation to $1 billion, enabling it to join the league of unicorns in Nigeria, according to Bloomberg.

“The money will be used for our expansion to Egypt, Ghana, and Cameroon and building out our digital banking product targeted at the under-served,” Tosin Eniolorunda, co-founder, said of the Series C fund it is seeking.

This year has been a record-making year for tech startups in Nigeria, as Flutterwave, OPay and Andela (a software engineering firm) join the unicorn club to bring the number of unicorns in the country to four after Interswitch debuted as a unicorn in 2019.

TeamApt’s success will see it becoming the third fintech company in Nigeria to hit unicorn status, an indication of where investors’ attention has focused the most. Apart from Nigeria having the most fintech unicorns in Africa, it would also mean that the three – Flutterwave ($170m), OPay ($400m), and TeamApt ($150m) have raised a combined $720 million in one year.

At $720 million, the three companies alone have surpassed the total $701.5 million raised by 397 companies in Africa in 2020. That funding also surpasses the total of $600 million raised by fintech companies in Africa from 2014 to 2020.

Interestingly, Flutterwave is also reportedly seeking to raise additional funding that could push its valuation to $3 billion.

What to know about TeamApt

Founded by Tosin Eniolorunda and Felix Ike in 2015, TeamApt’s initial approach to delivering financial happiness was by creating financial solutions aimed at optimising the operations of partner banks and financial institutions, with a focus on improving the experiences of the customers and businesses that these institutions served.

Read Also: Meet five investors behind 2021 biggest funding in Nigerian startups

“Our end goal is to see our customers happy, which can only happen when they succeed using our solutions to run their daily lives and businesses,” TeamApt’s mission statement states.

By 2017, TeamApt was servicing 26 financial institutions, and through their products they are able to optimise their core bank back-office operations and improve the service experience for their over 10 million customers.

In 2018, the startup realised that fulfilling financial happiness through others was not enough, as it still left a lot of people excluded from financial services, thus they evolved and took a more direct approach to achieve their mission. With the use of industry experience, technical depth, and a customer-first approach, they started working on direct consumer and business-facing products.

As of the same year, the startup recorded 26 banks supported, 100,000 onboarded businesses, 3 million customers, and $160 million transactions per month.

To solve the challenges faced with agency banking, TeamApt launched a platform known as Moniepoint in 2019, to provide basic financial services for underserved individuals and communities across Nigeria.

With the use of its mobile app and point-of-sale (PoS) terminals, Moniepoint agents can offer financial services like cash withdrawal, cash deposit, funds transfer, airtime purchase, and bill payments to individuals.

So far, the platform has 150,000 agents, 70 million transactions are being made monthly with over 14 million users and $3.5 billion value transacted.

In the same year Moniepoint was launched, TeamApt launched another innovation to drive growth and ease payment services. Monnify is a payment gateway designed to help accept payments from customers, happening in a seamless manner from multiple payment channels ranging from account transfers to card payments.

Monnify empowers businesses in the formal and informal sectors with the right tools and solutions to manage their finances and grow their businesses. Businesses in the formal economy benefit from the payment infrastructure that simplifies how they accept, manage and make payments, while smaller-scale businesses and entrepreneurs benefit from the market-community-focused products that give them accessible, affordable and convenient short-term working capital.

With Monnify, 1,600 businesses are registered, 4 million transactions are made monthly, 21 percent user growth, and $283 million value transacted per month.

In March 2021, the company launched a ‘Women in Tech Internship Programme’ designed to foster opportunities for women in technology in Nigeria, which will help provide a path for women to harness their skills and garner quality experience from experts in the industry to advance their careers.

The six-month paid internship programme has Tefe Mebuiefene (frontend engineer), Marvelous Frank-Solomon (backend engineer), Binta Umar (backend engineer), Omenebele Ananenu (backend engineer), and Barakat Ajadi (technical support engineer) as beneficiaries.

A new era of investment

Experts had predicted, shortly after Flutterwave’s $170 million funding round, that investment in Africa fintech companies would push above 1 percent for the first time ever. Prior to now, most of Africa’s contribution to fintech funding had been 0.4 percent in 2019.

This is most likely changing in 2021, thanks to Nigerian fintech companies that have attracted the most funding rounds. According to Insider Research, global fintech funding for 2021 is on track to cross $120 billion. 1 percent of $120 billion is $1.2 billion, half of which is likely to come from these three Nigeria fintech companies. Kuda Bank has raised a total of $80 million, while Fairmoney raised $42 million. Other fintech companies that have raised money include Payhippo, Sparkle, Brass, Mono, Verto, to mention a few.

Nigeria’s fintech space is also not just attracting mega funding; it is also getting the attention of digital banks outside the country. Jumo, a South African and London-based fintech company that raised $120 million led by Fidelity Management & Research Company with participation from Visa and Kingsway Capital, said it planned to expand to Nigeria and Cameroon.

Chipper Cash, a California-based fintech company with major fintech operations outside Nigeria is now deepening its presence in the country. The company has flooded major streets in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, with publicity materials. With MTN and Airtel getting ready to enter the financial services sector in Nigeria, it may just be the beginning of investments for the country.

“The world will increasingly pay attention to the Nigerian, and the African tech ecosystem. It’s about time,” Odun Eweniyi, co-founder/COO of Piggyvest, said.

 

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