South African startup Merge, an app and web-based platform that acts as a digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, has raised funding from Nigerian VC firm Platform Capital to help it expand across the continent.
Launched last September by Zander Mathee and Brandon Bate, Merge is a transactional marketplace platform that allows startups and investors to connect, communicate and collaborate seamlessly. It matches startups with a network of investors that are best suited to their funding needs, and provides high-quality deal flow to investors.
The company currently operates in South Africa and has over 1,000 entrepreneurs, more than 200 investors, and over 300 ventures funded. It aims to be the leading investment marketplace, and will be expanding its operations to Nigeria and West Africa in 2020, then across Sub-Saharan Africa and into other markets in 2021.
Already backed by early-stage investors such as Jason Levin and Chris Peters, Merge has now raised investment from Platform Capital, a growth markets-focused, sector-agnostic, principal investment and advisory firm, through its early-stage investment arm Unicorn Group.
“This investment from Platform Capital is the partnership that we have been waiting for. The synergies are unparallelled and the access to international markets will definitely put us in a stronger position going forward. Platform has already taken us to Silicon Valley where they exposed us to its tech ecosystem and deep network; we are now partnering with leading technology companies to accelerate our growth,” said Mathee.
Dr Ponmile Osibo, partner at Platform Capital, said Sub-Saharan Africa has the greatest disparity in finance supply for MSMEs, and that Merge provided an excellent opportunity to close this gap by providing a level playing field for entrepreneurs to have access to finance.
“Democratising access to finance via technology is the next frontier for the investment space and Merge is leading the charge. We are delighted to partner with Zander and Brandon, two young, passionate, and driven entrepreneurs with a knack for problem-solving. We are certain that Merge will become the ‘Tinder’ of investments – matching innovative founders to willing investors,” he said.