Jumo Raises $55M and Lifestores Secures $1M Seed Fund

Jumo Raises $55M and Lifestores Secures $1M Seed Fund

JUMO, a fintech providing loan services, has secured another round of funding in its push to extend its operation to the reach of many markets across Africa. The digital financial service company announced on Tuesday that it has raised $55 million for the expansion of its services.

“We are pleased to announce the closure of another successful funding round! We’ve secured US$55 million from a diverse group of investors to secure our expansion into new markets and the launch of new financial products,” JUMO tweeted on Tuesday.

The company had in 2018, raised $52 million, staying tops among Nigerian startups that got funding in the digital space. But this round of funding has toppled the previous record and put the Fintech’s total raised fund to $146.7 million if the $91.7m previously raised is added.

The latest round of funding has come from already existing investors, both old and new, mainly Goldman Sachs, Odey Asset Management and LeapFrog Investments. It has made JUMO the most funded startup in the African continent.

JUMO was founded in 2014 by Andrew Watkins-Ball as a digital finance platform offering mobile financial services. The platform provides loans and offers savings services to SMEs and the general public.

The platform uses algorithms to determine the credibility of its users and their credit worthiness. The higher a customer is scored the more money he will be qualified to access. The services are mainly mobile-based and are available across many mobile networks powered by USSD. It also has web and app options that offer accessibility choices to everyone.

The company partners with mobile telephone networks such as MTN, Telenor, Airtel and Tigo to power its mobile network functions while banks like Letshego Bank, Barclays Africa Group and Telenor Microfinance Bank provide the savings and loans services.

The startup said its loan services have attained the $1 billion mark across 10 countries in Africa and Asia. The CEO Andrew Watkins-Ball said the fresh funding will help JUMO to attain new heights in services by reaching more financial disadvantaged people in Africa and Asia. He said the plan is to introduce new products that will catch the attention of emerging markets.

“I’m excited for our next phase. This backing will help us build a better business and break new ground. The strong vote of confidence, along with the world-class tech talent we now have in business, means we can achieve exceptional outcomes for our partners and customers,” he said.

JUMO has about 10 million customers in Asia where it is aiming to reach more countries.

Meanwhile, another Lagos-based startup, Lifestores has raised $1 million (N365 million) in seed fund. Lifestores is a healthcare initiative led by Consonance Kuramo and other partners like Altadore Lionbear Capital, Greentree Syndicate, Startup and Health transformers Fund and Unseen Ventures.

Flying Doctors Nigeria Group, K50 ventures, Chinook Capital, Kepple Africa Ventures and some other companies were part of the fundraising. All the partners have healthcare background in common and appear to have come together to pursue a common goal, which is to facilitate easy distribution of drugs nationwide.

Founded in 2017 by Ken Ahaotu, Bryan Mezue and Andrew Garza, Lifestores is designed to disrupt the rigorous traditional system of drug distribution that enables peddling of fake drugs.

The Nigerian drug distribution system operates through a chain of tedious protocols that breeds unbalanced supply to pharmacies and many times, it keeps drugs out of the reach of those who need it.

Lifestores saw through the challenges and proffered solutions that will involve some changes in many areas of drug business in the country. It involves the acquisition of many pharmaceutical outlets in the country and establishing direct access to drug manufacturers which they have done in a space of three years.

The startup has anchored the entire supply chain of the pharmaceutical sector, and with the direct access it created to drug manufacturers, the menace of fake drugs is being minimized since it offers pharmacies the chance to buy quality drug stock at cheaper rate.

The N365 million fund became necessary because the startup developed a software that will enable it to execute its tasks. With the new software, the inclusion of new ideas into its system and managing the company’s operations will be easy as it plans to expand its reach by acquiring more pharmacy stores and going into further partnerships.

The software which was developed with the help of Andela was designed to keep track of Lifestore’s sales activities, inventory and keep patients’ record.

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