Browse Tag

FinTech

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Black Data Scientist Creates an App For Lending and Borrowing Cryptocurrency

The World Data Science Institute (WDSI) is a research & development fintech agency that offers DSaaS (Data Science as a Service) to companies in the Financial Service Industry.

Think of them as a team of Data Scientists for hire!

WDSI is passionate about sharing how Data science and Financial technology can be used to empower underserved communities worldwide. They have spent the last two years teaching Financial Data Science and Fintech to hundreds of people in several countries.

Now, they are raising a seed round to launch their flagship product, Cryptoshare. Cryptoshare is a crypto lending platform specifically targeted to minorities and underserved communities across the USA, Africa, and South America.

We caught up with founder Anade Davis to learn more about his plans.

What inspired you to start CryptoShare?

I have struggled with either credit and access to funding to grow businesses my entire life. Sometimes I struggled to have access to both at the same time! As I got older and traveled to different countries; I realized how many people were dealing with the same struggles internationally.

The problem is the current global banking and credit system excludes billions of people. One thousand US dollars ($1000) is enough in many countries to jumpstart a business.

I was inspired to create an international peer-to-peer lending solution for people around the world (utilizing Cryptocurrency and ATMs) to have access to funding without having to go through a bank or credit check.

Over a billion people of color around the world do not have access to financial instruments such as credit, banks, and loans. Our users will be able to access immediate funds utilizing Cryptocurrency ATMs, cellphones, and/or computers.

What advantages does Cryptoshare offer borrowers and lenders?

  • Crypto lending is more accessible to everyone since you don’t need to open a bank account, know about your credit score, or consider your income.
  • It is convenient. The only document borrowers will need to provide is their ID.
  • Ability to customize the loan terms to suit lenders’ needs. Both borrower and lender can customize their loan terms according to their requirements.
  • Crypto lending is safer than p2p lending since the loans are backed by crypto assets, which are extremely liquid.

How can people support you right now?

You can support the first African American owned peer to peer cryptocurrency lending company by investing as little as $100 and spreading the word!  https://wefunder.com/world.data.science.institute.2

 

Tony O. Lawson


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Africa Focused Flutterwave Now Valued at Over $1 Billion after $170 Million Investment

Founded in 2016, Flutterwave is a payment processing company that makes it easier to do business across the Continent by allowing users to make international payments in their own currencies.

Yesterday, the San Fransico based company announced that it has secured $170 million from a group of international investors as part of a successful Series C round.

flutterwave
Flutterwave Ceo and co-founder, Olugbenga Agboola
The round was led by growth-equity firms Avenir Growth Capital and Tiger Global Management with participation from new and existing investors. The fundraise brings the total investment in Flutterwave to $225 million and values the company at $1 billion.
flutterwave
Flutterwave Co-founder, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji

“We may consider the possibility of listing in New York or a possible dual listing in New York and Nigeria,” Flutterwave’s CEO and co-founder Olugbenga Agboola told Reuters on Tuesday.

This latest investment, made a year after Flutterwave announced a partnership with Visa and Worldpay, highlights the growing interest in the booming payments market in Africa.

 

Tony O. Lawson


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Black Owned FinTech Firm To Disburse $2 Billion in COVID Relief Grants

Back in November of 2020, Lendistry, a Black owned Fintech firm was selected to administer $500 million in grants to small businesses, nonprofits, and cultural institutions impacted by the pandemic across California.

After successfully disbursing the grants on behalf of the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, Lendistry has now been tasked with administering quadruple that amount, to the tune of $2.075 billion.

Lendistry will provide grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 for qualified small businesses and nonprofits, with $50 million allocated specifically for California nonprofit cultural institutions.

“The demand for funding has been immense, with small businesses and nonprofits reaching out for relief and support as they endure through this pandemic,” said Everett K. Sands, Lendistry’s founder and CEO. “During the initial funding rounds, we successfully connected small businesses and nonprofits with grants across all 58 counties in California, and we’re eager to use our platform to swiftly deploy this critical, additional funding so business owners can keep their lights on and serve their communities during this trying time.”

black owned fintech firm
Everett Sands, CEO of Lendistry

The latest round of funding was recently approved by the California legislature, and the relief program is being administered by California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA), part of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz).

According to a recent press release, since the launch of the initial funding rounds more than 40,000 grantees have been selected to move forward, more than 350,000 grant applications have been successfully submitted, and 87% of selected applicants represent underserved and disadvantaged small businesses.

Demand for grant funding has far surpassed supply, and this latest financing for small business relief presents an additional and necessary opportunity for eligible applicants still seeking support.

The new funding will be distributed in four additional rounds, beyond the initial funding rounds Lendistry has already completed, in the following order:

New Funding Rounds:

Round 3 (waitlisted from Rounds 1 and 2): Friday, March 5th through Thursday, March 11th, 2021

    • Eligible applicants: This is a closed round and only available to eligible applicants who were waitlisted in Rounds 1 and 2 – only existing applicants will be selected. If you were waitlisted, you do not need to reapply. New applications will not be accepted in this round.
    • Eligible grant award: $5,000 to $25,000
    • Details: This is a closed funding round; no new applications will be accepted

Round 4 (nonprofit cultural institutions only): Tuesday, March 16th through Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

      • Eligible applicants: Only nonprofit cultural institutions with any revenue size that meet eligibility criteria found at CAReliefGrant.com
      • Eligible grant award: $5,000 – $25,000
      • Details: Eligible nonprofit cultural institutions must complete a new application even if they already applied in Rounds 1 and 2; grants will only be available to nonprofits that did not receive funding in Rounds 1, 2 or 3; grants will be prioritized based on the documented percentage revenue declines based on a reporting period comparing Q2 and Q3 of 2020 versus Q2 and Q3 of 2019

Round 5: Thursday, March 25th through Wednesday, March 31st

    • Eligible applicants: current waitlisted small businesses and nonprofits not selected in Rounds 1, 2, or 3 and new applicants that meet eligibility criteria found at CAReliefGrant.com
    • Eligible grant award: $5,000 – $25,000
    • Details: Applicants not selected to receive a grant in Rounds 1, 2, & 3 do not need to reapply as they will be automatically moved into Round 5. New applicants will need to apply at CAReliefGrant.com

Round 6: Date to be announced soon

    • Eligible applicants: current waitlisted small businesses and/or nonprofits not selected in Rounds 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 and new applicants that meet eligibility criteria found at CAReliefGrant.com
    • Eligible grant award: $5,000 – $25,000
    • Details: Applicants not selected to receive a grant in Rounds 1, 2, 3 & 5 do not need to re-apply and will be automatically moved into Round 6. New applicants will need to apply at CAReliefGrant.com

Lendistry is again providing application assistance through its statewide network of partners, consisting of fellow mission-based financial institutions, small business advisory and technical assistance providers, and State-supported small business centers to facilitate the application process in multiple languages and formats.

Grants will not be issued on a first-come, first-served basis and will be awarded after the close of each application round.

For funding rounds focused on small businesses and nonprofits (3, 5, & 6) the funding for California small businesses and nonprofits will again prioritize regions and industries impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, disadvantaged communities, and underserved small business groups.

For application assistance and more information on application deadlines, grant requirements, and eligibility, please visit CAReliefGrant.com.

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Black Owned Lending App Raises $10 Million To Help Borrowers Avoid Predatory Lenders

SoLo is a Black owned lending app that was formed in 2018 to create a viable, non-predatory option for moments when life happens. The Los Angeles based company is on a mission to help the millions of Americans that are experiencing financial hardship due to pandemic.

SoLo connects lenders and borrowers with access to loans under $1000.00 and allows borrowers to set their own terms and provide appreciation tips to lenders who agree to fund a loan.

Black Owned Lending App

SoLo also allows lenders to make loans based on personal preferences. You can filter the marketplace according to what factors are most important to your lending strategy e.g., payback date, borrower history, etc.

“Even before the pandemic, 70 percent of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck, and many didn’t have $400 in their savings account,” Travis Holoway, co-founder and CEO of SoLo Funds told Crunchbase News. “More than half of the country has been waiting on $600 for more than six months.”

Black Owned Lending App
Rodney Williams (L) and Travis Holoway are the co-founders of SoLo.

The startup’s rapid growth (2,000% growth in 2020) has helped it raise $10 million to fuel expansion across the country. The latest round was led by ACME Capital, and includes Impact America Fund, Techstars, Endeavor Catalyst, CEAS Investments, and others.

Tony O. Lawson


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Black Owned FinTech Firm Selected To Disburse $500M in Relief Grants

Lendistry is a Black owned Fintech (Financial technology) firm that provides short-term loans and other types of financing to small businesses. Small businesses can use Lendistry to finance new projects, purchase new equipment, and more.

Lendistry is also designated both a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and a Community Development Entity (CDE) small business and commercial real estate lender.

On November 30, 2020, the State of California announced that it has selected Lendistry to act as the intermediary charged with disbursing $500 million in COVID-19 grants to California small businesses and non-profits.

The Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program is administered by California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA), part of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz).

black owned fintech
Everett Sands, Founder and CEO of Lendistry

“As an organization dedicated to efficiently providing capital to underserved small businesses, and with a deeply experienced senior management team that mirrors the diversity of our home state of California, Lendistry is proud to partner with the CalOSBA in this bold and critical effort,” said Everett K. Sands, Lendistry’s founder, and CEO.

 

Tony O. Lawson


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This Black Owned FinTech Payroll Startup Has Raised Almost $11M

Gig Wage is a Black owned Fintech startup that builds modern payroll, payments, and banking tools for the Gig Economy.

As of a few weeks ago, Gig Wage has now raised $10.7M in total equity funding. The funds will help with its growth in areas that include sales, marketing, and ongoing product innovation.

We caught up with founder, Craig J. Lewis to find out more about his business.

Black owned fintech
Gig Wage founder, Craig J. Lewis

What inspired you to start Gig Wage? 

In 2016 I read a report from McKinsey on the Global Independent Workforce aka the Gig Economy and it struck me that no one was really servicing the businesses that pay these workers.

I thought to myself, “We can become the payroll technology for the Gig Economy.” It also really scratched an itch I had to leverage payroll to impact the end user experience (the people getting paid). Gig Wage was an opportunity to be B2B2C and help everyone involved.

To what do you attribute the rapid growth of your business? 

The Gig Economy was rapidly expanding and Gig Wage was growing really fast pre COVID but COVID19 has definitely been an accelerant. The increased need for delivery has been the main area of growth we’ve seen.

black owned fintech

How does Gig Wage benefit employers? 

Gig Wage provides all the technology and tools businesses need to pay contractors/freelancers/gig workers in a fast, flexible, and modern way. Also by having 1099 specific software helps with classification concerns.

Where do you see your business in 5 years? 

Global with a 10 figure valuation.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs? 

Get started, keep going.

 

Tony O. Lawson


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Black Owned Credit Building App Raises $2.3M

Today, Esusu, a platform that aims to dismantle barriers to housing, announced the closing of $2.3 million in seed extension bringing total capital raised to $4 million.

Humble Beginnings

The name Esusu is a Yoruba word that describes informal savings in traditional African societies.

Co-founder Abbey Wemimo came up with the idea for the app when his family, led a single mom of three, struggled to afford his education. His relatives had to pool their resources to afford his education, and his mother contributed much of the money.

Abbey Wemimo

The Platform

Esusu’s rent reporting platform captures rental payment data and reports it to credit bureaus to boost credit scores. This enables tenants to build credit while property owners can encourage on-time payments. Esusu currently operates in over 30 states and covers over 200,000 rental units.

“Esusu’s vision to use data to eliminate the racial wealth gap is driven by the role that credit and housing play in financial stability and wealth accumulation in the United States. Our fundamental belief is that where you come from, the color of your skin or your financial identity shouldn’t determine where you end up in life. We are privileged to join forces with world-class investors to address these systemic issues through the innovative use of data,” said Esusu Co-Founders, Abbey Wemimo and Samir Goel.

Currently, less than 1% of rental payments are reported into the credit bureaus despite being the largest expense for most Americans. According to HUD and Urban Institute, rental data is one of the strongest predictors of a tenant’s credit risk.

Esusu’s model presents a profitable solution for property managers to help keep renters in their homes while equipping financial institutions with the data to underwrite renters with limited credit history.

We are experiencing the greatest public health crisis in a century, the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, and accelerating income inequality. Concomitantly, we are dealing with systemic racism that stifles the promise of America. “At Esusu we have a unique opportunity to challenge the status quo by using our platform to dismantle barriers to housing for working families and over the longer horizon, eliminate the racial wealth gap,” continued Abbey Wemimo and Samir Goel.

Tony O. Lawson


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Nichole Yembra: Managing Partner of One of The Largest FinTech VC Firms in Africa

One of my goals is to invest in many startups here and on the continent. The African Fintech (Financial technology) sector is one that’s always been interesting to me because of its potential to solve many social and economic issues.

According to a recent report from Disrupt Africa, the overall startup funding from venture capitalists jumped by 51 percent to $195 million from 2016 to 2017, with fintech funding accounting for one-third of the funds.

One company that specializes in financial technology is GreenHouse Capital. This Lagos based VC firm is assembling the largest portfolio of FinTech companies in Africa.

fintech
Nichole Yembra, MP – GreenHouse Capital

We spoke with Nichole Yembra, Managing Partner at GreenHouse Capital for more insight. Nichole is the local partner for foreign investors eager to transform African technology startups.

How would you describe the startup scene in Nigeria?

Over 40% of Nigerians identify as entrepreneurs; whether that is a one-woman store selling sweets and household items to series B tech companies getting international buzz. This spirit of hustle and solving every day Nigerian problems runs at the core of who we are.

While there are plenty stories of those who have started, we don’t yet have enough tales of exits which holds the Nigerian startup scene back compared to Kenya and South Africa. For the first time in 2017, Nigeria raised the most money on the continent and H1 2018 is already ahead of that trend.

Both domestic and international investors are backing really brilliant ideas, and this is setting up the ecosystem for much needed success stories.

What do you look for when deciding to invest in a company?

At GHC, we actually have a 10 item criteria, but the most important is the team. We need to know that they are resilient, flexible enough to pivot, technologically sound, and have the right set of morals.

Nichole Yembra

A great team will weather all the challenges thrown at them from both the macro and micro level and we honestly want to invest in people that we simply enjoy being around! We only invest in post revenue companies, so someone out there has to be willing to pay for your product.

Other areas including having at least one technical co-founder, assessing whether the timing is right for this product to enter the market, and modeling scalability.

Currently, your portfolio consists of mostly Fintech startups. What makes this such an attractive sector?

Fintech as we define it is the solution for so many issues on our continent. The most important thing we are looking for is data and a whole lot of it! Data allows everyone to make better decisions and innovate much faster.

For all the hundreds of payment companies, we still simply find it hard to move money across Africa and targeting the large percentage of the unbanked. Let me take one small aspect of fintech—inbound international remittances. In 2017, Nigerians (or others) in the diaspora sent $22 Billion dollars to friends and family in Nigeria. Nigeria’s entire 2017 oil revenues were $20 Billion.

fintech
Bunmi Akinyemiju, MP/CEO of Green House Capital

That’s right; inbound remittances were larger than all of Nigeria’s oil revenue. Furthermore, the average fee on those transactions is 10% meaning $2.2B for fintech companies moving foreign currency into the country.

Fintech’s are prominent throughout every fiber of society; from getting accurate patient records to track illnesses and medications to understanding why African aviation runs at a loss compared to its global counterparts.

Fintechs provide increased transparency and improve predictability. Any business that wants to make money needs to be plugged into a payment system, therefore permanently increasing the need for innovative fintechs.

Kunmi Demuren – Founding Partner, Greenhouse Capital

Congratulations on the launch of Vibranium Valley. What is the mission and vision behind it?

We’ve actually only completed phase 1 of Vibranium Valley now which houses Venture Garden Group’s 7 companies and the HQ for our investment arm GreenHouse Capital’s 14 companies.

Vibranium Valley launch day with Nigerian Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo (center)

We will also hold the 8-12 companies we are choosing for GreenHouse Lab, our all female tech accelerator. Once the full project is completed, we will have space for not just long term resident companies, but also those with budding ideas.

The mission is to enhance the tech ecosystem by fostering collaboration. Let’s say one company is trying to provide banking solutions to a state government and their primary system requires microfinance or commercial bank accounts, but the state wants to also incorporate the unbanked.

Vibranium Valley

That company can reach out to other fintechs that help cooperatives or have agency networks to partner with eachother rather than building that aspect of the solution from scratch. Vibranium Valley also serves as a central point for international investors and companies looking to better/more quickly understand the Nigerian investment landscape.

Vibranium Valley

If you have a question about a tech company in Nigeria, someone on our team most likely knows the answer or can easily direct you to someone who does. Being this ecosystem connector and helping shine the light on tech successes in Nigeria are the reasons why Vibranium Valley had to exist.

In your opinion, why is it important to support Nigerian and African startups in general?

Because nobody else can solve our problems for us. Developed countries like Japan, the US, and Germany have median ages between 46.9 and 37.9 years old; whereas the median age for the African continent is 19.5 years old with Nigeria averaging 18.3! Africans are not just the future, we are the now!

Garden Women’s Network

These young minds are growing up intrinsically connected with technology and innovation around the world and still hungry and imaginative enough to create both enabling and disruptive solutions to our nations’ problems.

We have already begun outsourcing our brain power to Silicon Valley companies with entities like Andela and countries looking to increase their global foothold can only come here for expansion. Given the large number of infrastructure and systemic issues around power, education, etc., there is not a shortage of problems to solve and the impact can be more immediate and widespread.

What is your advice for a foreigner investors that are interested in investing in Nigerian startups?

Come on over, we’re waiting for you. The beauty of investing here is that it naturally has a societal impact and given the perceived high risk, much higher returns.

I’d advise that you do your homework by engaging someone like us at VGG and always have a local investor in your round that can keep an eye on things on ground.

The biggest point of advice though is don’t come here trying to structure a silicon valley type deal; bring in global best practices, but be willing to localize and always search for context.

GHC CEO, Bunmi Akinyemiju, Managing Partner, Nichole Yembra, and Executive Director, Kunmi Demuren

Where do you see the company in the next 5 years?

Hopefully as a billion dollar company! For the new age unicorn definition, no African company has yet reached this milestone and we hope to be amongst the first.

We have deployed our fintech solutions across aviation, power, education, banking, and social investment while investing in companies addressing financial inclusion, renewable energy, healthcare, and so on.

With this connected ecosystem, we hope to increase not just our net worth but create a new class of tech millionaires and billionaires who are impacting millions of lives across the continent.

 

-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG @thebusyafrican)