Hot on the heels of closing a “new” €40m fund, Point Nine Capital is announcing its involvement in another investment today. Together with Runa Capital, it’s leading a $2 million Series A round in Berlin-based Mambu, the SaaS for alternative finance and “micro-finance” organisations mainly in Africa and South America. Existing investor Kizoo Technology Ventures also participated.
Launched in May 2011, Mambu provides a cloud-based platform to enable alternative and “micro”-finance providers to manage the service they provide to customers, replacing expensive legacy systems and home-grown solutions or, as is the case with the smaller providers, something as arcane as an Excel spreadsheet. Alternative finance companies can be broadly defined as any organisation who provides services that would traditionally be provided by a bank but who isn’t one, with “micro-finance” providers most prevalent in emerging markets where banks often shun the poorest part of the population. A micro-loan can be as little as $50, while those who are disenfranchised by traditional bankings services in fact make up the majority of the global population. In other words, micro-finance is a huge market.
To that end, Mambu claims over 70 micro-finance organizations in 20 countries currently use its SaaS, reaching over 200,000 customers, and processing thousands of transactions each day.
Examples of its clients include SEAP Microfinance in Nigeria, an NGO which seeks to promote sustainable livelihood for the less privileged and is servicing over 100,000 customers; FINCA Costa Rica, a non-profit micro-finance organization providing financial services to low-income entrepreneurs; and Lenddo in the Philippines and Columbia, a for-profit online lender.
“Micro-finance is a powerful idea of helping people to help themselves,” says CEO and Founder Eugene Danilkis in a statement. “But the nascent industry is undergoing great challenges of growth, transparency and accountability. We believe the right technology combined with the right people can help achieve the shared vision of enabling billions of people to invest in their small business, save for education, improve their living conditions and solve the challenges of their communities.”
Mambu says it will use the new capital to expand its team of micro-finance experts, accelerate product development and grow its global customer-base.