Kenya-based data marketplace CARMA secures Microtraction funding to launch in Nigeria

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The Kenya-based data marketplace startup CARMA, which provides lending companies with access to real-time credit data on a peer-to-peer basis through a pay-as-you-go service, has raised funding from Nigerian VC firm Microtraction to relocate its headquarters to Lagos and launch operations there.

CARMA describes itself as the world’s first credit data marketplace, tackling the gap in markets underserved by credit bureaus by providing lending companies with access to vital data to facilitate lending.

Though headquartered in Nairobi, the startup’s initial launch took place in Zambia, and CARMA will now also launch operations in Nigeria after raising a funding round from Microtraction, an early-stage VC firm that invests in startups at the very earliest stage of their development.

Though the funding amount is undisclosed, Microtraction announced earlier this year it had changed its standard deal by increasing its ticket size to US$25,000 and reducing the equity it takes to seven per cent.

CARMA will use the funding to launch its Lagos office, a move which comes as the startup looks to foster seamless customer support and account management by providing a fully decentralised protocol of data sharing for enterprises to fuel credit assessments with extra data points. This will help lending and non-lending organisations monetize their data to create a passive revenue stream. 

The company also connects enterprises by providing a data supply chain for organisations with access to CARMA services, contributing to data-driven business decisions.

“Our early-stage venture funding allows us to invest in growing our presence across Sub-Saharan Africa and our ability to address the gap in the credit data ecosystem while strengthening our network of clients. We are also focusing on supporting companies with quality data in the credit decision process to avoid non-performing loans,” said Ted Martynov, CARMA’s co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO). 

“We anticipate on strengthening our services across the region, which will bring us closer to helping companies enhance data sharing to build proper credit assessment procedures.”

Microtraction has so far backed a host of Nigerian startups, like Accounteer, Riby, Thank U Cash, CowryWise, Wallet.ng, Schoolable, 54gene, Termii and Festival Coins, but CARMA is only its second investment outside its home market, after Ghana’s Bit Sika.

“We are excited to be CARMA’s partner as part of their Africa rollout. Microtraction supports several great tech teams across the continent and we are acutely aware of the gap in access to credit data, which we believe is a fundamental one to fill,” said Chidinma Iwueke, partner at Microtraction. 

“Providing a solution that addresses this lack of data improves the quality of business processes and also helps the mass populous with access to financing, which of course, is very critical during these times as the world continues to fight a health and economic crisis. We look forward to working with CARMA as we continue to support teams working to address infrastructural challenges across Africa.”

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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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