Finplus, a technology company building a new credit & commerce infrastructure for emerging markets with a goal to digitize more of the economy and help close the massive $5.2Tn credit deficit faced by SMEs in developing countries has been named among 50 African startups that have been awarded equity-free funding by Google for Startups through its US$3 million Black Founders Fund Africa.
Finplus was named alongside 7 other Kenyan Startups including Amitruck (logistics), Angaza (Fintech), Elimu (ed-tech), AquaRech (agri-tech), MarketForce (retail-tech), Pezesha (fintech), Raise (fintech), and WorkPay (HR).
Three of the companies Finplus, Raise & eLIMU started off their operations at Nairobi Garage, while Angaza is still a member at Nairobi Garage Karen. It’s a huge congratulations from us. We pride ourselves on seeing our members achieve great milestones.
Finplus makes it easier and significantly more cost-effective to provide or expand Digital Financial Services in any market by automating significant parts of a financial service provider’s front and back-office operations.
Finplus software has already processed over $600M in transaction value across 5 emerging markets (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Eswatini, South Africa), enabled more than 400,000 unique SMEs & individuals to access credit, and saved business customers over half a million man-hours through automation.
Founded in 2017 by Wilson Kageni and Bernard Banta, Finplus provides fully-managed software to help financial services providers operate efficiently and scale cost-effectively in any market.
In December Finplus highlighted that the company had been awarded as the Most Improved Digital Financial Services Brand in Kenya at the 3rd Digital Tech Excellence Awards held in Nairobi, December 2019.
According to the World Bank, over 2 billion adults worldwide currently lack access to formal financial services. 73% of them live in 25 countries, all emerging markets across Africa, South America, and South Asia.
Despite these huge number, statistics also show that is over 36,000 Financial Services Providers (FSPs), from Banks and Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) to Credit Unions (SACCOs) and Financial Services Associations (FSAs) that are all independently working towards providing both for-profit and non-profit financial services to as many people as possible.
However, they are facing several serious challenges, chief among them: Low capital efficiency, Broken processes, and Underdeveloped ecosystems, challenges that the company believes that these particular challenges can be overcome through innovative approaches supported by the right technologies.
So instead of re-building the wheel, Finplus combines the power of its robust digital finance technologies with the existing infrastructure of Financial Services Providers globally to accelerate progress towards the goal of universal access to financial services, with a primary focus on the 25 countries that are home to 73% of the world’s unbanked adults.
As a first step towards solving this problem, Finplus provides automation software for easy management of digital finance operations at scale.
They also handle all the repetitive heavy lifting so Financial Services Providers can focus on their core business and serve as many people and businesses as possible, with universally accessible offerings and faster, more innovative service delivery methods.
Today, Finplus software helps someone in Africa access credit every 20 seconds.
The aim of the fund was to help bridge the existing fundraising gap for Black startup founders in Africa’s fast-growing technology landscape.
This non-dilutive $3 million fund is allocated across a pipeline of 50 investable startups in Africa.
The startups also receive Google Ad Grants and Cloud credits, as well as support from experienced experts at Google.
The first-ever virtual Google for Africa!
In the meantime, Google said that it would be investing $1 billion to support “digital transformation” across Africa. This will include landing a subsea cable into the continent to enable faster internet speeds, low-interest loans for small businesses, equity investments into African startups, skills training, and more.
According to a statement by Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, he said that Google had made huge strides over the past decade to make the internet accessible, affordable, and useful for every African.
To reaffirm Google’s commitment to the continent, Pichai said that Google has committed an investment of $1 billion over five years to support Africa’s digital transformation, to cover a range of initiatives from improved connectivity to investment in startups.
Google said it will inject the investment in projects to be implemented in countries across the continent, including Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana.
The subsea cable will cut across South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria, and St Helena, connecting Africa and Europe. It will provide approximately 20 times more network capacity than the last cable built to serve Africa.
With the new project, Google projects that they will help reduce internet prices by21% and increase internet speed in Nigeria and almost triple in South Africa.
It is also projected to create about 1.7 million jobs in Nigeria and South Africa by 2025 as the digital economy grows.
Google also announced the launch of the Africa Investment Fund, where it will invest $50 million in start-ups across the continent providing them with access to Google’s employees, network, and technologies to help them build meaningful products for their communities.