A self-acclaimed one-stop-shop for financial services, ImaliPay is one of the fintech startups addressing the challenges faced by workers in the overlooked gig industry. The startup has raised $3 million in seed funding in debt and equity, following the $800,000 it received in its pre-seed round back in October 2020.
Founded by Tatenda Furusa and Oluwasanmi Akinmusire in 2020, the startup came out of the need to provide working capital for gig workers who do not have all the access (like their counterparts working for companies or self-employed) they may require to financial services. Explaining how the startup started, CEO Tatenda Furusa said that “A couple of things connected to this point. One time, a Bolt driver ran out of fuel in Nairobi when I was coming from the airport and couldn’t top off immediately. It triggered me to think of what other pains these gig workers might be experiencing.”
According to him, “We researched the gig economy and found that they were neglected by some financial services. And we saw that we were perfectly placed on building a fintech solving the problems of Africa’s gig economy workers, freelancers and self-employed digital workers.”
The startup received funding from Google Black Founders in October last year as part of its seed round and also welcomed participation from Leonnis Investments. The startups opened up its seed round and saw the participation of angel investors such as Keisuke Honda of KSK Angels and others from Serbia, Kenya and Norway, and venture capital investors namely Changecom, Ten 13, Chandaria Capital, Uncovered Fund, Cliff Angels, MyAsia VC, Latam Ventures, Jedar Capital, Untapped Global, Plug N Play Ventures and Logos Ventures.
The company started with a pilot phase which was a buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) product that focused on providing fuel for two-wheelers. ImaliPay partnered with fuel stations in Ibadan, Nigeria, offering the service to SafeBoda riders. Following the success, it went on to create an ecosystem that supported partnerships. “We built out other services around spare parts, smartphones, power banks, savings and investments, and insurance bundled with those products. So like accident covers and income protection loss insurance, we intertwine these products so gig workers can qualify for each product based upon their transactional behaviour,” ImaliPay’s CEO said.
ImaliPay runs partnerships with 15 companies including SafeBoda, Bolt, Gokada, Ma.ng, SWVL, Amitruck, etc., and is providing financial services to gig workers.
ImaliPay’s services are accessible via its independent app, chatbot, USSD and connecting its API to the apps of partners,
ImaliPay which earns revenue from transaction and referral fees says its user base has grown 60 times from when it started fifteen months ago. It also adds that more than 2,000 transactions have been done using its platform.
According to its founders, the newly-acquired funds will be used to hire more talents, make its technology better and more efficient as well as expand to new markets including Ghana and Egypt, where opportunities are quite endless.