Nigerian fintech startup Carbon has set up a US$100,000 pan-African fund to address the lack of funding and support holding back entrepreneurs on the continent.
Consumer lending platform Carbon, which rebranded in April as parent company OneFi continues to transition into being a full digital banking platform after raising US$5 million in debt funding and acquiring Nigerian payments startup Amplify, has been busy expanding its offering, and has also moved into new markets with a Kenyan launch.
Its “Disrupt fund” is the first of its kind by an African fintech startup, and will invest up to US$10,000 per startup for five per cent equity. Portfolio companies will also be given access to Carbon’s API, allowing them to leverage Carbon’s growing customer base and innovative technology platform to get to market faster.
Carbon expects the initiative to spark more collaboration and further investment that should drive growth across the ecosystem, and is accepting applications from companies with operations in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Egypt.
Startups looking to apply for the fund must have a functioning product, be post-revenue, and be looking to operate in multiple countries. The fund has a wide investment mandate but target sectors include insurance, health and education.
“Common investor wisdom is to stay in your market and dominate. This assumes that you are expanding on your own but we believe that by collaborating and partnering deliberately, Carbon and other tech companies can scale faster and build more enduring platforms,” Chijioke Dozie, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of Carbon, said.
“There are many excellent companies across the continent looking for the kind of scale Nigeria offers and we are excited to partner with them to provide the support and financial investment they need. We are equally excited to expand beyond Nigeria and Kenya by working with a new generation of innovators across the continent and sharing our experience to tackle common obstacles to growth.”