South African fintech startup Nobuntu, which builds innovative insurance products for lower-income segments, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from fintech holding company Crossfin to help it scale.
Nobuntu, which previously raised funding from DFS Lab and was recently selected to take part in the UK-based Go Global Africa programme, currently offers two products – affordable funeral cover, and a pension savings product named The People’s Fund.
It has now secured an undisclosed amount of funding from fintech holding company Crossfin, whose portfolio companies include the likes of wiGroup, iKhokha and Crossgate. As part of The deal was made through Crossfin’s Blue Garnet Ventures angel investment arm, which is also backed by Investec Private Capital, and will see Blue Garnet take a significant stake in Nobuntu alongside Crossgate.
The deal will also see Crossfin – through its other portfolio companies – give Nobuntu access to more than 9,000 retail stores with more than 110,000 point of sale lanes and 13,500 mPOS merchants in seven African countries.
“Nobuntu is led by a highly accomplished team of specialists that are driven by a higher purpose of bringing cost-effective financial services to lower-income people who would normally not benefit from the available products in the South African market. As investors we will help scale Nobuntu’s market offering by giving the team access to the extensive channels established by our portfolio companies,” said Anton Gaylard, co-founder and chief operating officer at Crossfin.
“Each of the founders are young, highly qualified, and were already working at top corporates before choosing to take the risk of starting Nobuntu. The People’s Fund brings a welcome injection of “fin” into our fintech portfolio and creates exciting synergies with our portfolio companies, which we’ll explore over the coming months.”
Nobuntu chief executive officer (CEO) Tyron Fouche said The People’s Fund was borne out of personal experience.
“We had looked for a pension savings product for our ageing domestic worker. She had no savings, was getting too old to keep working and was fearful of becoming a financial burden on her family. I soon discovered that there are no products able to truly protect her against the risk of growing old and running out of money,” he said.
“The traditional cost structure makes existing products expensive, complicated and only available to wealthier people. So we built a product which disintermediates the insurer and strips out those costs entirely. ”
The People’s Fund is a peer-to-peer (P2P) pensions solution that provides greater returns the longer you live, instead of the inverse which is true for most pension savings products.
“The People’s Fund grows deeper as you grow older, providing a sense of dignity and respect around the life and financial well-being for our customers as they grow old,” said Fouche.
The African insurance sector is still underdeveloped, with Fouche saying part of the problem is the exorbitant commissions and fees that are common within the industry.
“Commissions for funeral cover can be as high as 70 per cent of the premium, leaving precious little for the end-consumer. With the support of Crossfin and the access it provides to a whole range of innovative fintech businesses, we can quickly scale countrywide to provide an exciting, ethical alternative to the current solutions,” he said.
You can read Disrupt Africa’s interview with Anton Gaylard, as part of our “Meet the Investor” series, here.