Final February, Djamo introduced that it acquired accepted into Y Combinator, the primary from Ivory Coast. Months later, the two-year-old fintech has raised $14 million in funding from the famed accelerator, in addition to from three lead buyers — Enza Capital, Oikocredit and Partech Africa — and different collaborating buyers, together with Janngo Capital, P1 Ventures, Axian and Launch Africa.
As with most fintechs throughout Africa, Djamo, launched by Régis Bamba and Hassan Bourgi final yr, offers monetary providers for the underbanked and unbanked inhabitants. Its focus is on French-speaking markets the place fewer than 25% of adults have financial institution accounts. One purpose why that is so is that banks think about prosperous prospects and people they deem worthwhile for enterprise. However as banks slacked, cell cash from the area’s telcos crammed within the hole, and within the final 10 years, their wallets have reached greater than 60% of the inhabitants — proof of what number of tens of millions of French-speaking natives had been hungry for monetary providers.
At this time, this cell cash infrastructure and attain permits startups like Djamo to construct upon their current cost infrastructure to democratize monetary entry throughout banking and cell cash spheres. Djamo’s app permits for interoperability between banks and cell cash, which means that its prospects in Ivory Coast can ship cash from their financial institution accounts to cell cash wallets, and again; it has leveraged this attribute to construct a full suite of economic providers.
Djamo’s first product is a Visa-powered debit card that lets customers make on-line purchases on websites resembling Amazon, Alibaba, or Netflix. Different merchandise embody digital accounts for peer-to-peer transactions, a product to obtain salaries, and an autosaving product that gives steerage into prospects’ monetary objectives. Kuda, Telda, PiggyVest, TymeBank and Koa are a couple of examples of comparable merchandise throughout Africa.
“Earlier than Djamo, it was an actual problem for a mean buyer to obtain salaries digitally as a result of they weren’t built-in into the banking system,” CEO Bourgi instructed TechCrunch over a name. “We discovered the fitting associate to launch that product and any firm pays wage to staff with a Djamo account. If you take a look at Djamo, alongside different merchandise, we would like prospects to have the ability to higher handle their cash and assist them plan for his or her future. We’re not essentially to digitize money like cell wallets. We’re right here to work on the private finance aspect.”
Prospects see a lot worth within the completely different use circumstances Djamo has assembled to this point that the fintech nonetheless depends on phrase of mouth to scale throughout Ivory Coast, based on Bamba, the corporate’s chief product officer. The platform at present has registered over 500,000 prospects, a greater than 5x enhance from the 90,000 prospects Djamo had onboarded as of February 2021.
“In our area, customers pay amongst the very best charges on this planet however don’t all the time obtain ample service in return and that may be extraordinarily irritating. The one factor that we need to obtain is to supply a product the place prospects get actual worth for his or her cash,” mentioned the CPO. “The app has been rising organically like loopy and to get such numbers in a market like this inside a brief interval, is proof that we’re nailing the general person expertise and constructing one thing very related for customers.”
Whereas they didn’t present an replace to the 50,000 month-to-month transactions recorded throughout the February interview, the founders say the fintech platform has processed over $400 million since inception. Djamo can also be experiencing a income progress of 20% to 25% month-on-month, spurred by an modification to its pricing plan that features a free possibility and two premium choices with various providers: $2/month and $3.5/month. They are saying these choices are 80% cheaper than different financial institution accounts supplied by monetary establishments — together with microfinance banks that Djamo views as direct competitors because of their adoption of digital channels to supply monetary providers — in Ivory Coast.
Bourgi mentioned 60% of Djamo prospects have by no means used a Visa debit card earlier than becoming a member of the platform. It’s a feat the chief govt is happy with and deems essential in Djamo’s bid to make monetary providers accessible to the plenty, together with these exterior the Ivory Coast. The $14 million in funding capital, which it claims to be the largest-ever fairness spherical for a startup in Ivory Coast, will assist the startup advance into two different international locations throughout Francophone Africa earlier than the tip of subsequent yr and broaden product choices to incorporate investments and lending.
Tidjane Deme, the final associate at Partech Africa, talking on the funding, mentioned, “Francophone Africa presents a big built-in market, with [a] fast-growing demand for frictionless providers from a brand new cohort of digital-native younger adults. We’re excited to affix forces with high-caliber native buyers who deliver sector and regional experience to allow Djamo to unlock this chance.”