Pezesha’s CEO Hilda Moraa
Pezesha, a Kenyan embedded finance fintech has secured $11 million in equity and debt in its pre-Series A funding round. The round was led by Women’s World Banking Capital Partners II and received participation from other investors including Verdant Frontiers Fintech Fund, cFund, and Cardano blockchain builder Input Output Global (IOG). The funding which came in a combination of $6 million in equity and a $5 million debt from Talanton and Verdant Capital Specialist Funds, will be used to expand into Nigeria, Rwanda, and Francophone Africa.
Thanks to the new funding, Pezesha will be embarking on a new growth strategy that sees it provide its embedded finance offering beyond Ghana and Uganda – its current markets. Pezesha’s offering is helping bridge the financial gaps faced by millions of micro, small and medium-sized businesses in Africa, and wants to continue to do so by expanding to more countries across Africa.
Pezesha was founded by Hilda Moraa in 2017 after she exited Weza Tele in 2015 and has over its time of existence built a scalable lending infrastructure that allows both traditional and non-traditional institutions to provide micro, small and medium-sized businesses in Africa with working capital. “The opportunity and impact in solving working capital problems for SMEs are huge. We are solving the root cause, which is information asymmetry issues, to ensure quality and responsible borrowing. Pezesha solves this through our robust API-driven credit scoring technology,” the startup’s CEO explains.
The startup provides its loans in partnership with Twiga and Marketforce. It integrates its credit scoring API into these partners’ platforms to enable its customers to get loan offers in real-time.
Currently, the startup is working with more than 20 partner companies, and this has enabled it to extend loans to more than 100,000 businesses since it launched till now, it says. The startup expects these numbers to increase as it plans to take onboard 10 more companies that’ll integrate with its infrastructure.
Pezesha provides loans of up to $10,000 at single-digit interest rates over a repayment period of one year. The startup plans to create a $100 million financing opportunity each year for businesses. The plan is to leverage local and international banking institutions, decentralized finance, and individuals with high net worth. “We are building for the future and this means tapping new innovations for additional liquidity that allows us to offer affordable loans to SMEs,” the CEO explained.
Speaking about what makes its business viable and worthy to be invested in, the CEO added that “We have the right business model, are profitable, and continue to pursue the kind of investors that are aligned with our goals and values.”
Commenting on the startup and the round, Christina “CJ” Juhasz, the chief investment officer of Women’s World Banking Asset Management said that “Pezesha is dedicated to solving Africa’s working capital problem through its robust lending infrastructure, and this investment will allow them to deepen the range of financial products offering especially to women-owned MSMEs.”
“Facilitating the movement of capital into emerging markets to support economic growth and job creation is a core promise of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Our vision is centered on using technology to make it easier for people across the globe to borrow and lend to each other in a regulated way. This investment in Pezesha is an important milestone, and we’re excited to be a part of their growth story,” Charles Hoskinson, the co-founder of IOG and Cardano said in a statement while commenting on their investment in Pezesha. This investment follows a prior announcement of a partnership to build a peer-to-peer financial operating system for Africa between the two companies.