Consumer finance app Djamo has secured $14 million in what is the largest-ever equity round in Ivory Coast. The round was led by Enza Capital, Oikocredit, and Partech Africa, and received participation from investors like Y Combinator, Jango Capital, P1 Ventures, Axian, and Launch Africa. The funding round follows Djamo’s acceptance into Y Combinator’s accelerator program last February, the first Ivorian startup to make it into the program.
Founded in 2021 by Regis Bamba and Hassan Bourgi, Djamo provides financial services for underbaked and unbanked people with a focus on Francophone Africa, where less than 25 percent of adults are estimated to have an account. In the last decade, the use of mobile money powered by telecommunication companies in the region has grown to now reach more than 60 percent of the population. This showed how banks had slacked in providing financial services for “everyone” as their focus was only on affluent customers and those they thought were profitable to their businesses.
Fintechs like Djamo are leveraging on the already existing mobile money infrastructure to democratize banking and mobile money services for the unbanked and underbanked population. Djamo’s app best feature is its interoperability between banks and mobile money. Customers can send mney from their banks to mobile money wallets, and back. This is Djamo’s foundation on which it provides a range of financia services.
Its first product, a Visa-powered debit card, gives users the ability to make online payments on platforms such as Alibaba, Amazon, Netflix, etc. Djamo’s other products include virtual accounts for peer-to-peer transactions, a product for salaries, another that helps customers saves automatically, etc.
While speaking on the fintech, CEO Hassan Bourgi said that “Before Djamo, it was a real challenge for an average customer to receive salaries digitally because they weren’t integrated into the banking system. We found the right partner to launch that product and any company can pay salary to employees with a Djamo account. When you look at Djamo, alongside other products, we want customers to be able to better manage their money and help them plan for their future. We’re not necessarily to digitize cash like mobile wallets. We are here to work on the personal finance side.”
Djamo boasts of over 500,000 registered customers, a five times increase from the 90,000 it had as of February last year.
“In our region, users pay amongst the highest fees in the world but do not always receive adequate service in return and that can be extremely frustrating. The one thing that we want to achieve is to offer a product where customers get real value for their money. The app has been growing organically like crazy and to get such numbers in a market like this within a short period, is proof that we’re nailing the overall user experience and building something very relevant for users,” Chief Product Officer Regis Bamba said.
According to its founders, Djamo has processed more than $400 million since it launched. The fintech is also experiencing a revenue growth of 20 percent to 25 percent month-on-month, boosted by a change to its pricing plan that includes a free option and two premium options with varying services: $2 per month and $3.5 per month. The founders claim that these options are 80 percent cheaper than other bank accounts offered by financial institutions in the country, including microfinance banks which the fintech sees as a major rival as a result of their adoption of digital channels to provide financial services.
Djamo’s CEO claims that about 60 percent of the fintech’s customers have never used a Visa debit card before Djamo, and therefore sees it as a feat that he is proud of. He also sees Djamo’s goal of widening access to financial services to the unbanked and underbanked, both within and outside of Ivory Coast, as an important goal. The startup will channel the newly-received funding to expand into two new countries in Francophone Africa before the end of next year. It also plans to widen its proucts offering to include investments products.
“Francophone Africa offers a large integrated market, with [a] fast-growing demand for frictionless services from a new cohort of digital-native young adults. We are excited to join forces with high-caliber local investors who bring sector and regional expertise to enable Djamo to unlock this opportunity,” Tidjane Deme, the general partner at Partech Africa commented.