Kennedy Mukuna and John Kiptum, Churpy founders
Kenyan fintech startup Churpy has secured $1 million from a seed financing round led by Unicorn Growth Capital and saw the participation of Antler East Africa, Nairobi Business Angel Network (NAIBAN) and some senior executives from Stripe.
With the new funding, the company is going to be hatching its plans to expand across Africa. Its plans include setting up hubs in Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt. “We are hiring more people as we plan to enter Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, which are the hubs into their [respective] regions. We are also putting finances into product development as we plan to scale our offering,” Churpy co-founder, Kennedy Mukuna revealed.
The startup, with its SaaS product, is looking to revamp how businesses manage the debt accrued to them by their customers. Its product automates the processes involved in reconciling incoming payments and invoices which is still being done manually by a handful of companies.
Churpy counts some of the largest banks in East Africa including Citibank, Sidian, NCBA and Stanbic, as its partners thanks to its API which connects them. These banks have an incredible presence in Africa, this Churpy’s co-founder says will be of advantage to the startup as it will make it easier to scale its operations.
Churpy was founded in 2021 by Kennedy Mukuna and John Kiptum. Together, they have experience in data analytics, banking and risk management and have worked with reputable organizations such as Citibank and World Bank. They met at an accelerator program organized by Antler East Africa and decided to launch Churpy. James Kanyagi, an expert in payment operations, AI operations and robotics, joined the founding team. “It was really not hard for us to unlock a lot of ideas, products, innovation and tech around the financial industry space. We’ve been there, we’ve seen how it works or why it doesn’t work, why it’s slow, why it is ineffective, and why customers are not happy. And so, what we are building is inspired by real experiences,” co-founder John Kiptum.
Churpy currently has a pilot program ongoing with major Kenyan manufacturing and service enterprises such as Chandaria Industries and Unga Limited participating. “On the dashboard, these companies are able to see who owes them money, how efficient they are at collecting and how liquid they are, and other operational metrics. This allows the chief financial officers and their teams of accountants to get into more strategic roles of the business and follow up on those that haven’t paid,” Kennedy Mukuna said.
The startup also wants to launch a working capital financing product for small and medium enterprises supplying products to enterprise customers using Churpy. This way, these SMEs do not have to wait for so long to receive payments for goods from enterprises. “SMEs have a huge financing gap. They are the suppliers to these big companies and need capital to keep taking raw materials to their other clients. Usually, they need collateral to access loans from banks and wait for approval to access capital to keep their business going. What we are doing is ensuring that they get paid not long after they deliver goods to partner enterprises for a 0.5% origination fee. Once their invoice matures, we get paid,” Kennedy Mukuna explained.
“It is clear that B2B payment operations are significantly under-penetrated and ripe for modernization and disruption globally. We are excited to partner with the Churpy team as the first mover in the market. Churpy is the only available end-to-end platform that provides accounts receivable automation, an invoice marketplace and reconciliation with integrated B2B payments specific to its markets. They are well-positioned to be a critical partner to businesses and lenders in Africa, and can effectively address the significant credit gap faced by SMEs for supplier finance and working capital,” Unicorn Growth Capital founding partner and CEO Barbara Iyayi said.