Zambian fintech startup Zazu raises $1.4m to expand user base

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Zambian fintech startup Zazu has raised a US$1.4 million funding round to allow it to grow its team and better connect with its potential user base.

Launched in October 2015, Zazu originally allowed farmers with extra produce to connect with new markets, but pivoted into the digital banking space in 2017

The startup ran a successful crowdfunding campaign that same year, and has since then developed two products focused on the Zambian market. The first, a chatbot that uses SMS to teach people how financial services work, has been used by over 1.1. million people, while Zazu has also built a digital wallet app that is connected to a prepaid card to give people more control over their spending.

The US$1.4 million in funding, which comes from undisclosed sources, will help Zazu expand its team and better market its product to build its user base.

“With 15 people on the team, we have been able to cover a lot of ground. Our products have been used by over a million Zambians and this investment is going to see us welcome our first 100,000 cardholders, as well as increase our team size,” said Perseus Mlambo, chief executive officer (CEO) at Zazu.

Zazu, meanwhile, plans to run another crowdfunding campaign in order to help it take its products out of beta.

“Our first crowdfunding campaign allowed us to quickly validate some of our assumptions and meet some incredible investors who have gone on to become advisors at Zazu,” Mlambo said. “Now that we have a working product and the licence to operate the business, we are really looking forward to, in a sense, rewarding those investors for their belief in us back then, and growing our investor base.”

Mlambo did not provide a date as to when the latest crowdfunding campaign would begin, and said at this point the startup could not disclose who was behind the US$1.4 million already raised.

“Since putting our app in beta, we haven’t disclosed user numbers because we have been focusing on getting user feedback and acting on that. Putting our app in beta saw us get inbound requests from a few investors and to not jeopardise some of the discussions we are having for a larger round next year, we aren’t disclosing source of funds at this time,” he said.

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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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