Nigerian fintech startup Earnipay secures $4m seed round to scale earned wage access solution

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Nigerian fintech startup Earnipay, which provides flexible and on-demand salary access to income-earners, has closed a seed round of US$4 million to scale its offering.

Founded by Nonso Onwuzulike last year, Earnipay integrates employer payroll and HRM systems to enable on-demand financing for employees to access their earned salary instantly, without interest. 

Its solution helps organisations improve employee engagement and productivity by relieving financial stress caused by eliminating the need for a salary advance or predatory payday loans with interest rates. The startup officially launched operations last month, having been in development and beta testing since September, and has already served over 20 businesses, outsourcing firms and HR solution providers in Nigeria.

Its US$4 million seed round is led by Canaan, with participation from XYZ Ventures, Village Global, Musha Ventures, Ventures Platform, Voltron Capital and Paystack CEO Shola Akinlade. Earnipay will use the investment to accelerate the development of its technology platform to serve large enterprise employers. It plans to offer its on-demand salary solution to 200,000 employees by the end of 2022. 

“Financial worries are the leading cause of distractions in the workplace. The monthly pay cycle means employees are often unable to afford daily expenses, cover emergencies or take advantage of immediate financial opportunities. As a result, they become exposed to predatory payday loans and get stuck in unending debt cycles with unrealistic payback periods and expensive interest rates,” Onwuzulike said. 

“Earnipay exists to address this problem and offer an ethical alternative to instant salary access while helping employers improve employee engagement and retention at zero cost to their business. The future of salary is on-demand, and we’re excited to be pioneering this amazing solution in Africa. I’m delighted to be collaborating with a group of highly respected investors who understand the need for a platform such as Earnipay to drive better access to salaries, and, importantly, to improve the financial well-being of income-earners in Africa.”  

Canaan partner Brendan Dickinson said earned wage access was growing rapidly in many markets, and was a “natural fit” in Africa.

“Earnipay has quickly established itself with a product built specifically for the payroll behaviours of this region, and early employer uptake is very strong. Nonso has built one of the strongest teams that we’ve met on the entire continent, and we’re thrilled for the opportunity to partner with them,” 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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