South African Startup JUMO, raised an equity investment of USD 3 Mn from Proparco, as disclosed in a recent press release. JUMO is an emerging market technology Fintech start-up that offers unbanked or under-banked people access to financial services via their mobile phones.
On raising the fresh round, Andrew Watkins-Ball, Founder and CEO of JUMO said, “We have proven our business model and are now gearing up for the next phase of building the largest scale and lowest cost platform delivering high-quality financial services to emerging markets. With Proparco we have an investor who understands the complexity of our markets and is committed to the qualitative imperatives of our mission such as customer protection and transparency, so we are very excited about this partnership.“
JUMO leverages the mobile networks to provide loans and savings-products to its customers. It has developed a credit scoring algorithm which helps customers to unlock the value of their digital footprints by giving an accurate estimation of their creditworthiness. The startup bundles products from various banks and sells it to businesses in look out for credit. The entire process of lending is facilitated through mobile networks, where the startup has tied up with a number of service providers.
The startup that currently, operates in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, and Ghana and Pakistan has already granted over 12.2 Mn loans. A significant chunk of its clients are small businesses with loan amount ranging from USD 2 to 50 k. A large proportion of JUMO’s current customers earn meager incomes (80% of the company’s Tanzanian customers live on less than 4 dollars a day). Many are accessing financial products for the first time thanks to the company, for example, 81% of the company’s Tanzanian and 77% of Zambian customers say they have never taken out a formal loan before.
The startup was selected to be a part of Google launchpad Accelerator last year. JUMO in the past has worked with organizations such as The Smart Campaign to adapt client protection standards for digital financial services, especially focusing on data confidentiality aspects. In 2017, MasterCard Foundation recognized JUMO as the most client-centric financial services company, working with low-income customers in emerging markets.
Proparco is a subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement (AFD) focused on private sector development with a focus on funding businesses and financial institutions across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle-East.
It seeks to partner projects in crucial development sectors – infrastructure (with a specific focus on renewable energies), agribusiness, financial institutions, healthcare, and education, etc. This is the first Fintech investment done by Proparco in Africa.
“This investment in JUMO – our first investment in a Fintech – is a natural extension of our action to promote financial inclusion by focusing on microfinance organisations, loans for SMEs – and now mobile technology. This project harnesses mobile phone technology to reach much larger numbers of people in a much wider area, ” as told by Grégory Clemente, Chief Executive Officer of Proparco