Nigerian digital bank Sparkle raises $3.1m seed round to help it scale

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Nigerian startup Sparkle, a mobile-first digital bank that provides financial, lifestyle and business support services to Nigerians across the world, has raised a US$3.1 million seed funding round to help it invest in infrastructure and scale across the diaspora.

Launched in mid-2020 by former Diamond Bank chief executive officer (CEO) and tech entrepreneur Uzoma Dozie, Sparkle offers comprehensive support for individuals, including flexible payments, savings and analytics to provide greater freedom, flexibility and control over finances and lifestyle. Its mobile app gives customers full and free access to one account that offers multiple services and different wallets. 

The startup has just raised a US$3.1 million funding round from an all-Nigerian group of investors including Leadway Assurance, Trium Networks and a number of Nigerian HNIs. This follows a previous friends and family pre-seed round totalling US$2 million, bringing Sparkle’s total funding to date to US$5.1 million. 

The new investment will be used to scale the platform’s talent teams across engineering, financial risk and marketing departments and investing in its automated back end processes and digital infrastructure.

Sparkle has seen triple-digit growth between 2020/21 and will now continue its focus of connecting Nigerians and the global Nigerian diaspora by building a different type of financial services platform that is more than just banking, but a means of improving the financial lifestyle of its users, allowing for borderless transactions. 

In April 2021, Sparkle launched its business platform, Sparkle Business, targeted at the new generation of digital first MSMEs and SMEs in Nigeria, with features such as inventory and invoice management, a payment gateway service, tax advisory and employee management. 

“I’m delighted to be collaborating with a group of highly respected Nigerian businesses, investment firms and captains of industry – all of whom understand the real need for a digital-first platform such as Sparkle, to bring better access to financial services and, importantly, financial inclusion, to millions more people – for business, for personal means or both,” said Dozie.

“Collectively, as a group of investors and business builders, we are Nigerians who are bullish about Nigeria and the opportunity the country presents in terms of building global networks and communities, all via one app. I am excited to welcome our new investors into the Sparkle tribe and will be leaning on their sector expertise and insight to build long-lasting partnerships as we scale.”

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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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