SA fintech startup Zoona raises $15m from IFC, 4Di

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South African fintech company Zoona has raised US$15 million in a second round of financing led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which will help Zoona scale its operations to reach 10 markets and 30 million active consumers across Africa by 2020.

The IFC, a branch of the World Bank, is joined by first round investors Accion, Omidyar Network and the Lundin Foundation in this new round for Zoona, which also includes investment from South African VC firm 4Di Capital.

Patrick Pichette, former chief financial officer at Google and long-time Zoona advisor, has also invested in the company.

“Technology has the potential to bring about financial inclusion to underserved communities across Africa,” said Zoona chief executive officer (CEO) Mike Quinn.

“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.”

Quinn said having Pichette, who he called a “visionary”, invest was also very exciting.

“As the world economies transit from cash-based to cashless, an entire infrastructure is needed to make that transition possible and ensure equal availability of both ‘currencies’,” said Andi Dervishi, global head of IFC’s Fintech Investment Group.

“Zoona has made this possible in Zambia and Malawi and is planning to do the same in many other markets in Africa. Whether in the form of a money transfer or a cash collection network, these retail footprints play an important role in acceptance and adoption of the new form of money and will be critical for the financial service industry as it transforms itself.”

The startup uses technology to provide financial services to underserved and financially excluded communities across Africa, and has over 1.5 million active users. Its system has processed over US$1 billion in mobile money transactions since its 2009 launch.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent’s most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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