Sparkle, Nigerian Fintech Startup, Raises $3.1 Million Seed Round from Nigerian Investors

Sparkle, Nigerian Fintech Startup, Raises $3.1 Million Seed Round from Nigerian Investors

The Nigerian fintech space is recording proliferation of high-flying startups, securing investments from local and international investors who have unwavering faith in the market’s growth potential.

The proliferation of fintech startups and the flurry of investors betting money on them shows that the market is huge, and there is unlimited room for growth for everyone.

This week, Sparkle, a mobile-first digital bank that provides financial, lifestyle and business support services to Nigerians across the globe, joined a stream of fintech startups that announced new investments.

The company said it has raised an oversubscribed seed round of $3.1 million from an all-Nigerian group of investors that included Leadway Assurance, Trium Networks and a number of Nigerian High Networth Investors.

The new round took Sparkle’s tally to $5.1 million, having raised $2 million in a previous pre-seed round graced by family and friends.

Sparkle said the new round will be used “to scale the platform’s talent teams across engineering, financial risk and marketing departments and investing in its automated back end processes and digital infrastructure.”

Founded in 2019 by its CEO Uzoma Dozie, Sparkle has built its customer-base offering different categories of payment services, including cross-border payments.

“Since launching in 2019, Sparkle has developed a digital-first tribe of users who have access to features such as savings, bill payments, airtime/cable/utility/transport top-ups, the ability to request or send funds, split bills, review spending breakdowns and more, all via the Sparkle app,” a statement from the company said.

The platform also has a Visa card function for users to make in-person or digital payments. The platform has also secured partnerships with Visa, Network International, PriceWaterHouse Cooper Nigeria and secured a Microfinance Bank licence from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Defying the pandemic, the startup said its transactions has tripled between 2020 and 2021, yielding tremendous growth. Sparkle said given the result, that it would now continue its focus of connecting Nigerians and the global Nigerian Diaspora by building a different type of financial services platform that is more than just banking, but a means of improving the financial lifestyle of its users, allowing for borderless transactions.

“In April 2021, Sparkle launched its business platform, Sparkle Business, targeted at the new generation of digital first MSMEs and SMEs in Nigeria, with features such as Inventory and Invoice Management, a Payment Gateway Service, Tax Advisory/Calculations and Payroll/Employee Management.

“Sparkle Business is the only Nigerian business account where no documentation is required to open an account – to register individuals require a personal Sparkle account, Tax Identification Number [TIN], and an email address connected to their TIN,” the statement added.

Sparkle’s seed round stands out as all-Nigerians led investment, changing the narrative of low interest in fintech startups by Nigerian investors that appears to have characterized Nigeria’s fintech space.

“I’m delighted to be collaborating with a group of highly respected Nigerian businesses, investment firms and captains of industry – all of whom understand the real need for a digital-first platform such as Sparkle, to bring better access to financial services and, importantly, financial inclusion, to millions more people – for business, for personal means or both.

“Collectively, as a group of investors and business builders, we are Nigerians who are bullish about Nigeria and the opportunity the country presents in terms of building global networks and communities, all via one app. I am excited to welcome our new investors into the Sparkle tribe and will be leaning on their sector expertise and insight to build long-lasting partnerships as we scale,” Dozie said.

He explained the features of Sparkle that have made it a top choice for users looking for a fast and reliable payment platform, including users’ ability to open an account in less than five minutes via a smartphone, without the need for documentation or in-person / banking hall verification.

“The future is about platforms, and connected platforms, to create seamless customer experience and, as we say, helping our users do what they want to do. Sparkle’s mission is to help Nigerians fulfil their potential by democratizing access to valuable solutions for their business and personal needs.

“Nigeria has a massive youth population who increasingly live, work and play beyond physical borders – we build with them in mind; Whether we are building services for individuals or businesses, we’re fully focused on creating a connected tribe of Sparklers,” Uzoma said.

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