Zambian fintech startup Zoona has announced a series B funding round of US $15-million. This is the next step in their mission to fuel a cashless society, applying cutting-edge technology to bring safe and reliable money transfers to undeserved communities across Africa.
A Zambian borne money transfer service, Zoona charges money senders between two and eight percent per transaction, with the recipient not being charged for a cash-out. Building money transfer networks across its markets, Zoona targets young women and aims to make on-boarding new agents as female-friendly as possible. Seventy percent of their outlets are owned by women and 85% of those staff are women. The company has over 1000 entrepreneurs running over 1500 outlets, who have created 2500 jobs. Since launching, the company has processed over US$1-billion in transactions with over US $20-million a month in transactions. According to Mike Quinn, the company CEO, the majority of transactions are from school fees, medical emergencies, and small business trade.
Series A investors Accion, consisting of Quona Capital, and Omidyar Network, doubled their investment for the Series B round, with the Lundin Foundation increasing theirs as well. Patrick Pichette, Chief Financial Officer at Google and advisor to Zoona, also invested in the company for the Series B round. Also Cape Town-based venture capital firm 4Di Capital joined the new round, having injected an unspecified amount in Zoona. According to Justin Stanford, co-founder and managing director of 4Di, this is the first investment from the firm’s new fund. Stanford holds a four-year non-executive position on Zoona’s board.
The new funding will be used to strengthen Zoona’s current markets and further expand the business into new territory. This expansion will include Mozambique, the DRC, and West Africa as a whole. Due to stiff competition, the company is not looking to expand into East Africa. Zoona plans to reach ten markets and over 30-million customers in African by 2020.
Mike explains, ‘This investment round marks a key milestone in our journey to build a billion-dollar business that helps communities thrive. We are thrilled that investors the calibre of IFC, Accion and Quona Capital, Omidyar Network, Lundin Foundation and 4Di Capital buy into and support Zoona’s vision. Having Patrick Pichette invest, a visionary and long-time supporter of Zoona, is also very exciting’. The road hasn’t always been easy and the company has had to overcome many hurdles along the way. Quinn expands in one of his blog posts, ‘As a startup, having the right partners and investors is critical, and it can help you weather the inevitable crises that will come your way. During the latter part of 2015, Zoona faced one such crisis – when African and emerging market currencies plummeted. Zoona benefited from having the right partners – the Omidyar Network and Accion – on board.’