With its financial management and payments platform, Nigerian startup Kippa is enhancing the operations of microbusinesses all throughout the nation.
Kippa has raised $8.4 millionin a seed round that was oversubscribed.
The company's mission and goal is described by their CEO as:
Our mission is to make it easy for anyone to start and run profitable small businesses in Africa. It is why we are building a full suite of software and financial services that enables this ambition, thereby empowering African business owners.
Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph, Duke Ekezie, and Jephthah Uche founded the company in June of last year, and it has since attracted funding from companies including Goodwater Capital, TEN13 VC, Rocketship VC, Saison Capital, Crestone VC, VentureSouq, Horizon Partners, and Vibe Capital.
According to Kippa, the investment would enable the company to provide financial products that benefit SMEs in expanding their operations and team in Nigeria.
In November of last year, the company said that Target Global and other investors had put in $3.2 million as a "pre-seed" investment.
One of the many bookkeeping tools available to small and medium-sized enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa is called Kippa. In the sub-Saharan region, similar service providers include Pastel, Bamba, OZE, and Bumpa.
Many of these firms conducted operations such as money management, inventory monitoring, and records of employees and suppliers offline, primarily with pen and paper or ledgers, prior to the introduction of such solutions.
Nearly nine out of ten small firms fail within the first five years due to all these inefficiencies, which take up time, result in mistakes, and have an impact on cash flow and finances.
In order to digitize the operations of these small firms in Nigeria's traditional retail industry, which is valued at more than $200 billion in total, startups have introduced a variety of bookkeeping solutions.
Small business owners may manage inventory, create invoices and receipts, keep track of their daily income and expense transactions, and generally maintain tabs on how their companies change over time.
According to CEO Ekezie-Joseph in an interview from last November, Kippa has more than 130,000 active businesses, ranging from modest kiosks and street corner shops to local food vendors and high-end merchants.
Despite the platform's expansion, Ekezie-Joseph did not specify how many active small businesses there were.
Any business that offers services to thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises throughout different cities in Nigeria has a significant distribution network on which to build new goods.
In Kippa's case, which has merchants in each of Nigeria's 774 local governments, it has significantly improved the services it offers to merchants.
Due to the price and difficulties in completing the complete registration process, the majority of small firms in Nigeria are not properly registered.
As a result, Kippa just introduced one of the quickest incorporation products for small firms, according to Ekezie-Joseph. In order to assist these businesses in incorporating lawfully, Ekezie-Kennedy said:
They've designed a product on top of the current Kippa product that allows businesses to register in 3 days for N15,000.
This functionality serves as the foundation for Kippa's intentions to stack financial products, in addition to gaining substantial traction and increasing revenue.
The company claimed last week that it has been granted permission to function as a Super Agent by Nigeria's top bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), just like agency banking competitors OPay and TeamApt.
HOW TO USE KIPPA APP: Free Bookkeeping App For Small & Medium Business
With the license, business owners on the Kippa platform can operate as agents and provide individual clients who frequently visit their small businesses with financial services like:
- Cash withdrawals and deposits.
- Bank account opening.
- Bill and utility payments
There is potential for us to do more for the over 500,000 merchants on our platform and offer them more financial services, said Ekezie-Joseph.
The super agent license lets retailers and other local businesses that already use our bookkeeping program offer all the important financial services their customers need in one place.
For a small company developing this quickly, hiring the best people to lead its blitzscaling efforts is crucial. Kippa claims its annualized transactions logged on the platform have hit $3 billion, 10 times what it had last November.
In order to achieve this, the finance management platform has hired senior executives from companies such OPay, BharatPe, Khatabook, TeamApt, OKCredit, NIBSS, and Unified Payments as well as former regulators.
Some of them are Niyi Ajao, the former deputy managing director of the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), as chairman.
Osagie Alonge, the executive director of marketing; and Toyin Albert, the executive director of payments services.
In its first full year of business, Kippa has raised more than $11 million. Investors have been persuaded by the business and its rivals that the market they service is too large for any player to coexist.
Reports support that claim because an estimated 49.3 million business owners in the nation operate SME's.
Credit is the bond that holds everything together, despite the fact that these platforms promote various business strategies such as bookkeeping, connections with suppliers, banking, and software services.
Kippa's credit and lending division, which the CEO had anticipated would be a source of revenue for the business last year, has been put on hold for the time being.
Hopefully not for so long that it interferes with the startup's goal to become the preferred financial service provider for small businesses.
Credit remains an insanely huge opportunity for us. And while we have a lending licence in Lagos and Abuja, we’re spending our time building out the arms of the business that provide and continue to expand transactional data that we have on businesses. This allows us to build a healthier loan book when we start lending.