Mono, an Africa-focused fintech startup that lets users easily connect their bank accounts to financial apps, has secured $15 million in a Series A round of investment.
The funding round was led by Tiger Global and supported by new investors like Target Global (an investor in neobank Kuda), General Catalyst, and SBI Investment.
Participation in the round also marks Tiger Global’s third big investment in Africa this year, following its investment in Flutterwave and FairMoney.
This new fundraising round, coupled with the existing ones from Entree Capital, Lateral Capital, GPIC, Acuity VC, and Ingressive Capital, brings Mono’s total raise to a little over $17 million since its launch last year.
With more than half of the African population either unbanked or with limited access to financial services, open finance players like Mono hope to echo Plaid’s success in the US market on their own.
The company relies on its idea that access to a financial ecosystem via open APIs would increase access to financial information and decrease entry costs for the underbanked.
Founded in 2020 by Abdulhamid Hassan, a former product manager at Paystack, and Prakhar Singh, Mono claims it has now handled over 200 million financial data transactions from over 270 companies, developers, and fintech companies.
According to Mono’s CEO, Abdulhamid Hassan, its products offer the company an advantage over the likes of Plaid, Okra, Stitch, and Onepipe, who are also streamlining various financial data into a single API.
Its DirectPay is a service that allows Nigerian companies to accept bank transfer payments from consumers through their website or mobile app without requiring them to use their debit cards. With this product, the company hopes to achieve what Flutterwave and Paystack have accomplished but with the use of bank accounts.
The next competitive product is its statement pages, which Hassan describes as the first of its type in Africa. This feature allows companies to access clients’ bank accounts without the need for a developer.
While introducing new features geared towards the Nigerian market, Mono also announced in May that it is looking to expand into other countries, like Ghana and Kenya. It has successfully launched in Ghana where it is piloting with a few banks and fintech.
Kenya is still on the company’s radar with further plans to expand into countries like Egypt and South Africa inclusive by 2022. The company is hopeful that it may complete its expansion to South Africa this year through a collaboration with Absa bank.
“At Mono, everything we do is primarily motivated by our customers. Customers in these countries who want to develop loan or fintech applications say they can’t do so until Mono is present,” says CEO Abdulhamid Hassan.
“People trust us because of how we’ve established our connection and the sort of goods we’ve produced in Nigeria, and they say that if we go to a nation, they’ll want to start there as well,” he concluded.