South African fintech startup Nomanini has raised a new round of funding worth US$1.5 million from new and existing investors to grow its team, invest in product development and scale its offering.
Founded in 2010, Nomanini has developed a platform that enables informal merchants and micro-entrepreneurs in emerging markets to distribute digital goods such as airtime and prepaid electricity.
The startup, which also offers micro-loans to merchants and operates in markets such as Ghana and Mozambique, raised a US$4 million funding round led by Standard Bank, Africa’s largest bank, and completed by Goodwell Investments, an Amsterdam-based investment firm, in 2019, and those two investors have each pumped an additional US$500,000 into this latest round.
Nomanini has also announced the addition of FMO – the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank – to its list of investors in this latest funding round, also contributing US$500,000. The company will leverage the funding to grow its network of financial service providers and value chain partners, invest in product development and operational scalability, and expand the team with top-tier talent working across Africa.
The startup’s fintech SaaS platform is built for the informal retail ecosystem, providing informal retail micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) with the tools to improve their businesses. The company leverages new digital financial services and existing distribution networks to support digital banking and supply chain financing in cash-first markets.
Late last year, the company announced it was working with Nestlé to boost the businesses of informal retail MSMEs across Eastern and Southern Africa by providing access to working capital. This new partnership follows the company’s pan-African deal with Standard Bank Group signed in 2019.
Over the past year, Nomanini has more than doubled the number of merchants on its platform as well as increased the number of loans fourfold, underpinning the large need for financial services and supply chain financing in this traditionally underserved sector. The company is now focusing on cultivating more partnerships and further developing its solutions for both financial service and FMCG providers.
“Nomanini continues to put the livelihoods of MSME retailers at the centre of our focus,” said Vahid Monadjem, chief executive officer (CEO) of Nomanini.
“COVID-19 served to underscore the importance of these entrepreneurs for their communities as well as their lack of access to financial tools to provide resilience in this time of crisis. With FMO on board, we are looking forward to expanding our partnerships to include more like-minded financial service providers.”
Jeroen Harteveld, MASSIF fund manager at the FMO, said Nomanini’s focus on informal and unbanked merchants, including vendors, kiosk and shop holders across Africa, fitted perfectly with the mandate of the financial inclusion fund.
“Beyond Nomanini’s talented team, we believe its existing B2B partnerships are unprecedented for a fintech. We are excited to support Nomanini to scale further by leveraging FMO’s knowledge and vast network of partners in the African financial services sector,” he said.
Wim van der Beek, managing partner of Goodwell Investments and board member at Nomanini, said his company had been very impressed with Nomanini’s traction and resilience during the pandemic.
“We believe in Nomanini’s market approach and the ability of the team to capture the growth opportunities,” he said. “As investors focused on inclusive growth, we are excited to put more money behind this conviction. We are happy to welcome FMO into the circle of investors: their support will help Nomanini grow its circle of partners around Africa even faster.”
Adrian Vermooten, chief innovation officer at Standard Bank, said the additional investment in Nomanini reaffirmed its commitment to the company as well as its support for Africa’s informal retail sector.
“Being able to support the creation of wealthier and healthier communities by providing working capital to retail MSMEs is a real win for all. Our partnership is a culmination of Standard Bank and Nomanini’s shared mission: to help the informal retail trader grow,” he said.