Kenyan-based fintech startup Pezesha, which is building scalable lending infrastructure for SMEs has raised $11 million in a pre-series A round led by Women’s World Banking Capital Partners II (WWBCP II). The funding round was a mix of $6 million in equity and $5 million in debt which will assist in the growth of the company’s operations in its core markets and into new markets in Sub – Saharan Africa.
Other strategic investors who joined the round include Verdant Frontiers Fintech Fund (an early stage African Fintech Fund focused on accelerating financial inclusion), cFund and IOG, ventures investing in innovations layering blockchain infrastructure, Talanton (values-driven private impact investment fund), and Verdant Capital Specialist Funds investing debt in this round
The Pan-African fintech startup recently raised a seven-figure seed extension from GreenHouse Capital, a leading African fintech investment fund in 2021.
Founded by fintech entrepreneur Hilda Moraa, Pezesha says it will use the funding to increase its presence in East Africa and enter into the West African market.
In the last 2 years Pezesha has grown the value of its disbursements over 2,000% through disbursement of more than 100,000 loans to MSMEs in Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana. The fintech has provided productive credit to tech-enabled platforms such as Twiga Foods, Jumia, and Marketforce among dozens of others.
“ We are excited about attracting institutional investors led by the Women’s World Banking Capital Partners II to harness our growth plans and push our mission to the next level. We are equally excited that WWBCP II intentionally invests in women, which allows us to cement inclusivity in our growth plans as a sustainable path towards our vision of building Africa’s MSME lending infrastructure.” Moraa stated while speaking on the investment:
“Additionally, this round has brought together strategic investors who underpin the fundamentals of financial inclusion in their thesis and we believe these combined experiences will help us accelerate and enable millions of MSMEs across African value chains to access affordable working capital,” she added.
“We’re excited to join Pezesha’s journey,” said Christina “CJ” Juhasz, Chief Investment Officer, Women’s World Banking Asset Management. “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. We look forward to teaming up with Pezesha as it drives financial inclusion in Africa and continues to increase the number of women served in its business ecosystem.”
Pezesha is also opening up the debt liquidity market by working with strategic institutional investors such as IOG-Cardano. Through this partnership, the company can access affordable capital by layering DeFi liquidity channels on top of the scalable digital lending infrastructure.
Co-founder of IOG and Cardano, Charles Hoskinson: “I’m delighted to announce our investment in Pezesha. 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.”
“Pezesha is democratizing financial services to the underserved SMEs through its infrastructure that has validated trust, rockstar team, and scale. We are allowing distribution models for our partners to grow with little acquisition costs while increasing retention and profitability. We are the Tradeshift for Africa. Providing the rails for everyone to offer fintech services from supply chains, cooperatives, payments, e-commerce marketplaces etc by leveraging our lending infrastructure to operate and offer working capital to their customers in an effective and affordable way. In a nutshell, Pezesha has demonstrated the trust of all key stakeholders within its digital ecosystem and the capital markets”, said Moraa.
“Embedded finance is the future. The ability to embed financial services to traditional workflows or processes through tech and automation is estimated to be at $248Bn by 2032. The foundation that Pezesha has built so far is anchored for the future with a talented team at the helm of it.”