Nigeria’s Payhippo has been confirmed as part of the Y Combinators 2021 batch, joining three other African startups to make 4 African startups out of a total number of 167 startups in the batch. The lending and business financing platform is yet another to shed more light on the African fintech space. The African fintech space has been breaking boundaries and setting new milestones, many like Payhippo have given small and medium businesses access to business financing and their products have been welcomed with open arms, even more than offered by commercial banks.
Payhippo is one of the youngest fintech in Africa. It was founded in January 2020 by Zach Bijesse, Chioma Okotcha, and Uche Nnadi. Payhippo raised $1 million in its pre-seed round backed by Ventures Platform, Launch Africa, and Future Africa. Payhippo focuses on providing funding for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). It helps SMEs access loans and builds their credit history with an average monthly loan size of $1,600 from which it make $96 — a 6% interest.
Payhippo will be granted a $125,000 seed fund as well as networking and mentorship opportunities during the Y Combinators accelerator program. The accelerator will get a 7 percent stake in Payhippo, as it has with other startups it has invested in. At first, this didn’t go well with Payhippo. According to Co-founder Chioma Okotcha, the startup received the condition with mixed reactions when the news of its acceptance became known. She said that “we had mixed feelings at first because 7 percent of your company is a lot to give up. We called up a few YC alumni from our market and got their input. Ultimately we went with Y Combinator because we saw how much we could learn from the YC partners and the overall network.”
She, alongside the company’s other co-founders, believes that the program will give it all the exposure and validation it needs. “We believe it’s already paying dividends both for operations as the brand name and global recognition of Y Combinator has brought interest from lending capital partners…the YC brand name signals to the job market that working at Payhippo means people can contribute and do meaningful work”, she said.
“We’ve been hiring like crazy, investing in and looking to hire a head of finance, engineers, and SME salespeople. It is exciting to see an increase in our talent pipeline now as we have joined YC. We’re always looking for more talent, so reach out to introduce yourself”, she added.
The company says it has given out 3,000 separate loans worth over $4.1m to SMEs in Nigeria in less than two years of operations.