Carbon Bets On AI For Business Banking In Acquisition Of Vella Finance

By  |  February 14, 2024

Nigeria’s financial sector sees a strategic move as Carbon, a prominent player, today announced the acquisition of fintech startup Vella Finance, birthing an AI-powered business banking platform.

The announcement signals a move by Carbon, which took off with consumer banking services, to advance financial services for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by harnessing artificial intelligence.

Chijioke Dozie, co-founder of Carbon, remarked, “Carbon spearheaded the consumer finance revolution in Nigeria in 2016,” adding, “Since then, we have provided some loans to SMEs, but not in a manner that meets our standards or the customers’ expectations.”

Vella Finance, founded by Mark Afolabi, Segun Fagbami, Tolu Adedayo, and Gabriel Ajenifuja, is a fintech company offering comprehensive banking and financial infrastructure for local and cross-border payments, targeting SMEs in Africa.

The acquisition of Vella Finance, with its SME platform, aligns with Carbon’s aspirations to enhance its SME-focused offerings.

Afolabi, CEO of Vella Finance, expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration, stating, “These are trying times for businesses in Nigeria, and by joining forces, we can provide businesses a platform that provides AI-driven insights into their transactions, low-cost accessible loans, and the power of AI models built into the platform to help with any business challenge.”

In the transition, Vella Finance will shift business customers to Carbon Business, offering individual customers the option to upgrade to business accounts. The move aims to provide optimal user experiences during this period, as highlighted by Gabriel Ajenifuja, co-founder and CTO of Vella Finance.

Carbon Business will offer a range of features including AI-powered transaction analysis, competitive low-interest loans, sub-accounts for financial organization, automated income splitting for financial planning, and team-based account management (currently in development). The platform promises ease of integration with existing business systems and a user-friendly interface.

Additionally, Ngozi Dozie, co-founder of Carbon, emphasized the company’s commitment to sharing AI insights, stating, “At Carbon, we’re pioneering the use of AI across all departments,” with plans to disseminate knowledge through webinars, newsletters, and How-To-Guides to all Carbon Business customers.

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