Pezesha, a pan-African fintech company, has gotten a pre-series A $11 million investment. $5 million in debt and $6 million in equity. The start-up will be able to expand its operations in its core markets while also moving into new countries within Sub-Saharan Africa as a result of the fundraising round led by Women’s World Banking Capital Partners II.
Pezesha, which translates to “capital enabler,” is a business-to-business (B2B) digital lending infrastructure that provides financially excluded SMEs with affordable working capital. It is estimated that this industry will experience a financing gap of $328 billion.
It was established in 2017 by Hilda Moraa, a serial entrepreneur in the financial technology sector who sold her previous venture in the sector in 2015. Pezesha plans to use the money from its most recent investment to expand its digital lending infrastructure in West Africa and grow its presence in East Africa.
With its headquarters in Kenya, Pezesha has been working to solve infrastructure problems that keep small and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) out of the market. Moraa says it has become a leader in embedded finance in Africa by bridging the MSME information gap and repairing broken value chains. It does this by giving productive credit to tech-enabled platforms like Twiga Foods, Jumia, and Marketforce, among others.
At the point of sale, partners integrate with Pezesha’s application programming interfaces (APIs) and offer credit and other financial services to Pezesha’s merchant network.
Pezesha’s application programming interfaces (APIs) for credit scoring serve as the engine of a straightforward but powerful process through which micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) receive real-time loan offers to buy stock and pay for it later.
It also provides financial literacy courses and debt counseling to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) that do not qualify for loans. These services aim to help MSMEs improve their credit scores and ensure that they are borrowing responsibly as they move up the Pezesha financial ladder.
Pezesha has grown the value of its disbursements by more than 2,000% in just the past two years alone by extending more than 100,000 loans to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana.
Moraa says, “We are ecstatic to announce the participation of institutional investors, led by the Women’s World Banking Capital Partners II, who will help us propel our expansion plans to the next level and advance our purpose..”. Equally as exciting to us is the fact that WWBCP II will be deliberately investing in women. This will allow us to establish inclusivity in our growth plans, which is a necessary step toward achieving our long-term goal of constructing Africa’s MSME lending infrastructure.
In addition to this, this round has brought together strategic investors who base their thesis on the fundamentals of financial inclusion, and we believe that the combined experiences of these investors will help us accelerate and enable millions of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) across African value chains to gain access to affordable working capital.
Christina “CJ” Juhasz the chief investment officer for Women’s World Banking Capital Partners II said, “As part of their mission to find a solution to the problem, Pezesha is committed to fixing Africa’s working capital dilemma by establishing a reliable loan infrastructure.
This is being done as part of their objective to provide a solution to the problem. They will be able to broaden the scope of the financial services they provide as a result of this investment, particularly for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises that women control..”We are excited to collaborate with Pezesha as it broadens access to financial services in Africa and continues to serve an increasing number of women in its business ecosystem.
Women’s World Banking, a non-profit organization based in the United States, established WWBCP II, the second gender-lens investment fund, and WWB Asset Management is in charge of managing the fund. The fund aims to close the gender gap by investing in high-performing financial service providers that help low-income women.
There will also be a dedicated technical assistance facility to help portfolio companies reach their strategic goals for gender inclusion.
In addition, Pezesha is expanding the market for debt liquidity through its collaboration with major institutional investors like IOG-Cardano. Thanks to this agreement, the start-up will have access to more affordable finance, which layers DeFi liquidity channels on top of the scalable digital lending infrastructure.