Nigerian digital bank Brass raises $1.7m funding round for SA, Kenya expansion

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Nigerian fintech startup Brass, a digital bank delivering easy access to affordable premium banking services for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), has secured US$1.7 million in funding to accelerate its expansion into South Africa and Kenya, among other things.

Launched in July 2020 by Sola Akindolu and Emmanuel Okeke, Brass equips SMEs with a full-stack, commercial-grade banking service across various business classes, enabling them to gain greater clarity and control over their money operations and the power to scale their enterprises. 

So far, the startup has served thousands of businesses – including the likes of Send.ng, Mono and Eden, as well as restaurants, schools and malls – and disbursed over US$2 million in credit. It also recently launched Brass Capital, a cash-flow financing service.

Its US$1.7 million funding round sees participation from Olugbenga ‘GB’ Agboola, co-founder of Flutterwave; Ezra Olubi, co-founder of Paystack; Hustle Fund; Acuity Ventures; Uncovered Fund; and Ventures Platform. The funding will play a key role in accelerating Brass’ expansion into South Africa and Kenya, and kickstart a range of new product categories, including an expansion of the startup’s footprint in the credit market as it bids to diversify its customer range.

“The basic needs of Africa’s SMEs are just as significant and unique as those of the customers they serve each day and now more than ever, we need innovative and world-class financial services solutions that meet their expectations. These local businesses have supported our economies for decades, forming the backbone of Africa’s success to-date and now is the time to bet on them,” Akindolu, Brass’ chief executive officer (CEO), said.

“At Brass, we’ve made some great strides over the last year in tackling one of Africa’s most critically underserved customer bases but with an estimated US$5.1 trillion credit gap globally, our work is far from over. This is why we’re delighted to welcome onboard a number of vastly-experienced and strategic investors, whose expertise will not only play a vital role ahead of our expansion into South Africa and Kenya, but also in our future ambitions outside of the continent.”

Kola Aina, founder and general partner at Ventures Platform, said his firm had been “immediately sold” on Brass’ mission to make banking work for small businesses. 

“For far too long banks have not worked for their customers. This challenge is even more chronic for small businesses, hence we are excited to be a Brass partner as they advance the mission to make banking work for African businesses – via their suite of products designed to help businesses succeed,” he said.

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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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