Asilimia has announced it has secured $2 Million to grow its team, deliver new services and expand into new markets in East Africa. The Kenyan startup’s mission is to build the digital financial infrastructure of Africa’s highly fragmented and paper-based informal economy, and address the $360 billion credit gap that is impacting the continent’s 150 million MSMEs
The pre-seed funding was raised from a wide range of investors including two-time unicorn founder, Fredrik Jung Abbou (co-founder of Kry and Lendo), Norrsken Impact Accelerator and other prominent founders from across Europe.
Asilimia says it also raised $1 million in a debt round that included Bpifrance and GreenTec Capital Partners.
Asilimia was founded by Tekwane Mwendwa and French entrepreneur, Morgane Kablan. The startup was incubated in the Station F programme in Paris and it has also been through the Norrsken Impact Accelerator programme.
The problem Asilimia is solving:
Lack of consolidated data means MSMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa are considered as high risk leaving them locked out by traditional financial institutions. This is despite them contributing approximately 38% of the region’s GDP.
Even in a country like Kenya where there’s a higher financial inclusion rate than most of the continent – thanks to mobile money platforms like M-Pesa – most MSMEs still use pen and paper to record their transactions, and 30% of their profit is then spent on mobile money transaction fees. This is the problem Asilimia is looking to solve.
The startup has built an affordable and easy-to-use digital platform that formalises payments, revenue collection and accounting for business owners, making it easier to monitor their business activities in one place.
Using just their mobile phones, Asilimia says business owners can record their expenses and sales, track pending payments and gain financial insights through a simple dashboard that is more efficient than using pen and paper.
They can also connect their personal mobile money accounts and save up to 90 percent on transaction fees.
This consolidated and verifiable business data de-risks business owners, making it easier for them to access a range of financial services, including insurance, savings and loans to meet their specific needs, accelerate their growth and support development in their communities.
Asilimia claims it is growing at 30% week on week, and the app is used an average of 90 times per month per customer.
According to Tekwane Mwendwa, CEO and co-founder of Asilimia, “Africa’s informal businesses are the backbone of its economy and we want to unlock their GDP to drive further growth and development across the continent. Our focus over the last few years has been to build a solution that works and this new funding will enable us to take it into new markets and impact the lives and livelihoods of more business owners.”
Funda Sezgi, co-founder and Managing Director at Norrsken Impact Accelerator said, “MSMEs play a vital role across Africa and making it easier for them to succeed is great for the continent as a whole. Tekwane and the team have built a solution that works and we are delighted to be supporting them as they drive prosperity in a key sector for the African economy.”