South African fintech company JUMO, has secured $120 million in funding. This new round was led by Fidelity Management and Research Company. According to The New York Times, the JUMO is now worth $400 million.
Fintech giant Visa and London-based investment management firm Kingsway Capital also took part in the round. This represents Fidelity’s first investment in an African startup. It also comes a year after the company raised $55 million in an unidentified fundraising round.
Since founder and CEO Andrew Watkins-Ball started the company, JUMO has secured more than $200 million in equity and loan rounds from investors, including Brook Asset Management, Finnfund, Proparco, Leapfrog, and Goldman Sachs.
The South African fintech company JUMO, which bills itself as a banking-as-a-service platform uses artificial intelligence to power financial services. This is especially to lending in emerging markets, where over 1.7 billion people lack basic financial services. Reports show that 42% of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia are unbanked, and only 11% of adults in Africa are covered by credit bureaus.
However, in terms of active operational markets, the fintech company is present in six African countries: Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Ivory Coast, and Pakistan.
“It’s exciting to be part of the wave of US capital being invested in payments and fintech on the continent – there are some great businesses being built and we are proud to play a role supporting capital providers to reach customers with great products,” Watkins-Ball said in a statement.
JUMO, according to its founder is focused on making it easier for capital providers to reach new clients at a low cost. The six-year-old firm also aims to assist banks in achieving “reliable returns” by providing a comprehensive set of infrastructure and services ranging from core banking to underwriting, KYC (know your customer) and fraud detection.
JUMO claims it will utilize the investment to improve and expand the number of financial solutions it offers to small and medium businesses, besides expanding into Nigeria and Cameroon. It also intends to provide merchants and larger enterprises with longer-term financing options.
A Look Back at Jumo
Andrew Watkins-Ball, a former City banker from South Africa launched the company in 2015. He worked at Salomon Brothers, a former Wall Street Investment bank, earlier in his career when he secured leveraged loans for African enterprises.
Watkins-Ball said a lack of financial infrastructure was “clearly” holding down enterprises in emerging economies. “The great majority of people could not obtain basic financial services”.This inspired the platform to provide financial services to emerging market entrepreneurs and enterprises.