Ghana-based fintech startup, OZÉ has closed a $3m investment via a pre-series A round to expand the capabilities of its platform and increase access to affordable finance in Ghana and Nigeria through its partnerships with well-known commercial banks.
The round was led by Speedinvest, Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund and Savannah Fund. Angels investors experienced in operating and investing in global fintech also contributed to the round.
This latest round brings the startup’s total funding up to $4.27m after raising $565k in pre-seed and $700k in seed rounds. Speaking on the investment, Philip Specht, principal at SpeedInvest expressed excitement at the investment and also mentioned the startup’s strategy as a factor in the investment.
“There has been a lot of interest in the digitization of SMEs in Africa over the last year. We have also observed the space carefully as we believe that there is tremendous potential in building the financial operating systems for African MSMEs. We are extremely excited to partner with the OZÉ team as we believe they have the right leadership and strategy in place to build the strongest platform in this market.”Philip Specht, principal at SpeedInvest
Providing solutions for African business owners
The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), pointed out that 80% of African economies are SMEs, 70% are in the informal sector. Medium and small businesses in Africa are traditionally run using the pen and paper method and often run into financing problems and loss of revenue.
With the advancement of technology in Africa, there is a need to build an online presence and digitize businesses to make it smooth for both owners and consumers. For owners, there is an even greater demand for solutions to financial challenges like accepting payments, understanding cash positions, and securing loans to increase stock for busy periods.
Founded in 2016 by Meghan McCormick and Dave Emnett, OZÉ provides a platform to help drive growth for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Africa. Using the OZÉ mobile/web app, businesses are able to manage tasks and operations including tracking sales and expenses, sending digital receipts and invoices as well as business coaching.
Financial institutions partner with OZÉ to provide small business loans. OZÉ’s methods and relationship to business owners mean that loans made through the platform can be collateral-free, larger, and paid back over a longer period without increasing risk.
This access to finance boosts confidence in business owners, and banks have seen stability in repayment rates thanks to more accurate digital recordkeeping. The number of loans granted increased by 200% quarter-on-quarter from Q3 to Q4 of 2021.
Since its launch, OZÉ now has a client base of more than 125,000 business owners and boasts of being the largest online community of MSMEs in Ghana.
Increased access to finance for MSMEs in Ghana and Nigeria
With the new funding, OZÉ hopes to expand the capabilities of its platform and increase access to affordable finance in Ghana and Nigeria through its partnerships with well-known commercial banks.
As business owners use OZÉ to manage their business and learn how to run it better, OZÉ uses the data they provide to give them tailored recommendations, reports, and business education. Using this data and machine learning, the startup can predict their credit risk and provide them with affordable capital from our banking partners.
With the number of monthly active users on the OZÉ platform growing by 1200%. in 2021, the team remains focused on building their winning solution in collaboration with African business owners.
Our role is to build a platform that works for 100 million-plus businesses today and supports the creation of the future of commerce in Africa.Co-Founder and CEO of OZÉ, Meghan McCormick,
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