Kenyan fintech startup Kwara, a digital banking platform for credit unions in the East African country, secures a $4million seed to build a neobank app that will enable individuals to sign up through their chosen credit unions to access financial services.
The Kwara neobank app will be launched mid next year, and it will enable a new borderless method for lending institutions and easy tracking of personal financial flows. According to the co-founder and CEO Cynthia Wandia, “We want to make credit unions as efficient as they can be by giving their members the kind of neobank experiences they wish to have”.
Due to the technological gap in banking grade and lack of neobank like experiences for end customers, Cynthia Wundia said that Kwara is developing a solution for an estimated one billion people who do not have access to personalised banking services. “Thanks to our investors, we will now be able to offer an end-client experience that is 100 times better than what they previously had access to”, she said.
Kwara’s COO and co-founder, David Hwan said the neobank app beta version was tested for feasibility, and it has an uptake of between 60% and 90%.
He said, “The app gives power to the members, who can view and download their financial statements, apply for loans and make repayments. By giving power to the members, we are extending the freedom that credit unions need to focus on their core business or more value-added tasks”.
Ben Marrel, the founding partner at Breega, said, “Kwara’s unique approach is a catalyst for a new way of retail banking through digital-first credit unions. We are both proud and excited to be helping this outstanding team scale across Africa and other emerging markets.”
The $4million seed was secured from investors across Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States (US). Breega led the funding round, a European venture capital firm, including SoftBank Vision Fund, Emerge, Finca Ventures, New General Market Partners, Globivest, and Do Good Invest. Other investors are Rabacap, Launch Africa, Norrsken Impact Accelerator, Future Africa, Samurai Incubate and DOB Equity, fintech angels, and several fintech executives, including founders of Meltwater, The Flex Company and ComplyAdvantage, and executives from Salesforce and PayPal.
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