Ghana-based fintech Fido has raised $30 million in series A funding to launch new products and expand across Africa. This brings the total equity investment raised to date to $38 million.
Specifically, the funding will be used to grow the company’s customer base throughout Africa, launch new category-creating financial products and establish a new technology center in Ghana’s capital Accra to train software engineers.
The funding round was led by Fortissimo Capital and saw participation from Yard Ventures, the venture capital fund of Harvard alumni, and additional private investors.
Founded in 2013, Fido gives mobile loans of up to $250 to small businesses and individuals. The duration of the loan repayment is usually up to six months. Fido told TechCrunch that savings and payment products will be added to its portfolio later this year. It also plans to enter its second market, Uganda, and subsequently expand to other countries.
So far, the company has underwritten 1.5 million loans, valued at $150 million, to 340,000 customers in Ghana and that figure is expected to grow as it enters Uganda and other markets.
“Uganda in many ways resembles Ghana, and we understand the regulation very well. We think it’s a very big market, both in terms of population size, but also in terms of the penetration of mobile. So, there are about nine million mobile accounts in Uganda and so it’s very important for us to go to a market that is already mature because it helps us deliver our services instantly, which is what we really want to do,” Fido CEO Eitan told TechCrunch.
Fido was created due to the lack of access to financial services which has long affected the growth of small-scale enterprises in Ghana and in Africa.
“The banking sector (in Africa) is complicated and bureaucratic, its processes are time-consuming and not very customer-friendly, so access to financial services remains beyond the reach of a significant segment of the population,” Fido said in a statement.
“Fido changes this paradigm by automating the whole customer journey from onboarding to credit analysis and even provides financial guidance. Its autonomous banking platform and unique machine learning-risk models, make instant credit decisions even for customers with no financial track record while helping reduce operational costs.”
It said its autonomous banking system “relies on mission-critical, real-time machine learning models for risk scoring and fraud detection, based on non-financial data, to approve or reject a loan in real-time, and simultaneously deliver market-leading default rates. The B2C mobile application is fast, data-driven, low latency, and built on a distributed cloud architecture, helping boost accessibility to financial services to unbanked regions.”
Fido currently has a team of 60 workers including creative entrepreneurs and artificial intelligence (AI) veterans such as CEO Eitan, CTO Guy Shaked and CCO Kelvin Abdallah.