BY TOM JACKSON
Kenya-based fintech startup Asante has announced a US$7.5 million Series A investment to help its credit offerings to a host of African countries.
Asante has developed a digital lending platform that uses alternative data and a proprietary AI loan decisioning management system to approve loans to micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The company works directly with ecosystem channel partners, including telcos, mobile-based marketplaces, airlines, retailers, payment processors, insurance companies, smartphone phone OEMs and large FMCGs, to collect conventional and non-conventional MSME data, with the prior consent of the clients, in order to reduce the cost of customer acquisition and due diligence while providing sufficient alternative data for credit underwriting.
Asante has executed over 16 strategic corporate channel partnerships, giving Asante direct access to 2m MSMEs with a monthly lending opportunity in excess of US$200 million. Incorporated in Mauritius, Asante has grown exponentially since it commenced operations in 2018, and now operates in Kenya and Uganda.
The startup has active plans to be in 12 countries by 2025, and looks set to realise part of that goal after announcing a US$7.5 million Series A round anchored by Goodwell Investments with participation by other investors including Sorenson Impact Foundation and Forsage Holdings.
The Series A investment enables Asante to scale its credit offerings to the underserved segment of MSMEs in Kenya and Uganda, and expand to Nigeria and Rwanda.
“We are delighted to welcome our new investors including Goodwell, Sorenson and Forsage in our inaugural institutional fundraise. Together, we will advance access to finance, and financial independence and wellbeing for the millions of small businesses on the continent,” said Chidi Okpala, founding chief executive officer (CEO) of Asante.
“With over 650 per cent growth in lending activities since Q1 2021 and a sustained average all-in default rate of 2.5 per cent, Asante is well-positioned to fast track scale and deepen our impact in our operating markets. Our bold post-COVID response is helping small businesses recover, reconstruct and reposition for growth while ensuring that thousands of jobs are safeguarded. We look forward to a round extension very early in the new year to support the solid growth momentum.”