Since M-Pesa’s cell cash infrastructure came into play in 2007, there has been a proliferation of fintech companies and products ranging from wallets to savings and loans. With this cell cash ecosystem growing in double-digits year-on-year, a lot of data is being created in the job. But this has left some fragmentation, where one individual’s information is numerous and can be accessed via a couple of channels.
For banks and financial institutions, it becomes tough to understand and present insights from users’ data. Over the past three years, some platforms have regarded to resolve this challenge. They aggregate users’ financial data and share it with these financial players thru APIs driving more data-pushed insights and value-added merchandise. One such platform is Pngme.
Today, the Africa-focused however U.S.-based unified financial data platform announced its seed spherical of $3 million. The investment, led by Radical Ventures, Raptor Community, Lateral Capital and EchoVC was closed in Q3 2020 and came after the fintech startup raised $500,000 in pre-seed two years ago. It additional reflects the continued customer growth from banks, fintechs, credit bureaus and microfinance banks in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria.
Founded by Brendan Playford and Cate Rung, Pngme started primarily as a lending platform in 2018. Playford, who grew up in the U.Okay., came to East Africa in 2007 to work on philanthropic biofield projects. He ended up writing temporary loans to entrepreneurs, particularly in Kenya and Tanzania, and during this time formed the basis for which he as CEO and Rung as COO based Pngme.
“That was kind of the impetus we mandatory and also the skills of being credit invisible in the U.Okay. led Cate and me to came across the company specifically focusing on providing access to finance to Africans,” he said to TechCrunch.
According to Rung, the company’s initial thesis was that entrepreneurs didn’t regain ample assist, capital-smart. But going into 2019, when the company raised its pre-seed spherical, the founders realized another challenge — the lack of data infrastructure to access threat when giving out loans or capital.
Their stint in an accelerator based in Toronto, Canada helped to better understand the more valuable version of the company — the B2C layer which connects entrepreneurs with finance or the data infrastructure layer to understand threat or a individual’s financial identification.
“We have been building two diversified companies at as soon as, so we had to make a choice one path. We realised that the data infrastructure layer was critical and a massive pain point in most of sub-Saharan Africa,” the COO added.
Pngme had to make a swift pivot to the latter. Building this is able to have a rather more significant impact. Being able to aggregate cell cash transactions, bank transactions, loan data, behavioural data, job all that data into a structured format and make it available as an begin API to builders, fintechs or banks across the continent will present data to energy real-time credit and unusual financial merchandise.
Additionally, the company came across out in the route of building that shoppers want to understand their finances more. This helps to navigate their way to financial wellness using credit and, later, more sophisticated merchandise. On the diversified hand, financial institutions want the data to know what customer segments to expand to or increase their bottom line. Therefore, placing emphasis on the customers’ desires is certainly one of the vital company’s core value propositions.
“We’re hyper-interested by providing the ideally suited real-time data coverage on credit-invisible customers, something that no diversified API is offering in our markets,” said Playford regarding the company’s individual-centric play.
A few of Pngme’s customers include SimpleFi, Pavelon, ReadyCash, CashTopUp and Rigo Microfinance. In addition to this, the CEO says the company will integrate with large institutional banks next month.
Despite similarities to diversified API fintech startups in the home with Plaid-esque functionalities, Playford says Pngme intends to be diversified from the billion-dollar company.
For one, its point of interest on traditional channels like USSD data — which has the ideally suited financial coverage on the continent — attests to that. “We’ve long gone a step past fair providing rails to actually building on top of the data. We also present machine learning insights for our customers,” Rung said.
Also, the platform’s SDK collects user-permissioned data thru a partner’s existing app using a one-click data-sharing feature. This data is served up thru an easy to integrate API that delivers real-time financial data and alerts. With 300% month-on-month growth in the fourth quarter of 2020, Pngme forecasts the sequence of user-permissioned data profiles created on its platform to reach hundreds of thousands and hundreds of thousands by 2022.
Pngme’s income mannequin is subscription and API-call pushed. The platform has diversified tiers; builders can regain a home sequence of free API calls with out a subscription with the free tier. With the undertaking tier for banks and fintech, API calls are charged and can be discounted in some instances. Besides that, the company has a white-glove onboarding job where Playford says builders and startups can reach out to manufacture particular train cases on the platform.
Since raising its pre-seed spherical, Pngme has been in stealth mode, working with a cessation crew of customers. But with this seed spherical, the company is going full tilt. According to Pngme, the investment is being ragged to develop its Lagos and Nairobi teams, particularly the engineers and data scientists, and scaling its product for banks, cell cash operators and fintechs.
Lateral Capital, certainly one of the vital investors in this spherical, also backs another API fintech startup in Mono. On the firm’s option to invest in Pngme, managing partner, Capture Eloff said to TechCrunch that “over the past 5 years, we have considered a growing appreciation for the continent-broad challenge of providing accurate relational data for financial companies and products customers across Africa. In Pngme, we are fortunate to have met a team with a intriguing answer to the root cause of financial exclusion in Africa, and a intriguing tradition that spans the upper of Africa and the U.S.”
For EchoVC Partners, a Lagos-based early-stage VC, it’s the remarkable job the Pngme team has performed in building and delivering a unified financial data API platform for credit identification and access. Here is according to Damilola Thompson, the VP and associate general counsel at the firm.
At the moment, Pngme is processing hundreds of thousands in data points month-to-month. With that scale, Rung hopes this can lead to the creation of latest technology and more sophisticated financial merchandise.
“What I think is most exciting is the way cell cash leapfrogged any kind of traditional financial infrastructure. Similar to that is how we’re seeing begin banking in the U.S. give way to so many unusual financial merchandise for the tip individual. I’m hoping that by providing forward-thinking begin API layers, the same can happen in Africa.”