August 22, 2023

Kenyan Fintech Startup Raises $11.2M To Help African Business Access Financial Services

Zanifu, a Kenyan fintech company that helps millions of African businesses to access financial services, has raised $11.2 million in debt-equity funding in a pre-Series A round.


Founded by Steve Biko, the Zanifu platform allows small retailers and businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa to access inventory from their suppliers and pay later. 

They aim to support micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) by bringing their businesses online while providing them with working capital finance.

Biko told TechCrunch that the platform targets businesses that need help accessing credit from formal financial institutions for lack of structure, accounting books and assets that can be used as collateral.

Zanifu extends credit to businesses based on data it collects from them and their suppliers.

Users of the platform access an Android application to find out their credit limit and make orders. 

The fintech company has integrated multiple payment channels into the app to facilitate swift repayments.

It also enables retailers to pay for stock bought from other distributors not included in its database.

The New Funding

The fintech platform has now raised $11.2 million in debt-equity funding in a pre-Series A round led by Beyond Capital Ventures and Variant Investments.

Founders Factory Africa, AAIC Investment, Google Black Founders Fund and Launch Africa also participated in the round, raising the total debt-equity funding to $12.7 million. 

Biko said that although the fintech company provides credit to retailers, the new funding also enables it to expand to distributors.

“In our first product, we only lent to retailers to help them expand their business, but we found out that distributors have a similar problem,” said Biko.

The startup says it has given credit to 13,000 micro-businesses and has already served 500 distributors following the expansion of its customer base.

Following the new funding, the startup plans to extend its operations in Kenya, shelving its previous plan to expand to Ghana and Uganda.

The fintech startup, licensed by the Central Bank of Kenya, plans to offer other financial services like insurance and build tools to help businesses manage inventory and do bookkeeping.

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.