Tugende Uganda’s tech-driven asset finance company has closed a $3.6m Serie A extension round led by VC firm Partech and participation from Enza Capital, and several other angel investors. Last year Tugende raised $6.3 million in November 2020 in a round led by Toyota Tsusho investment fund Mobility 54. This brings their total Series A at $9.9 million.
Tugende operates in Kenya and Uganda but is based in Kampala. The company runs asset finance, technology-driven, and customer support models to help micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
The social lender will channel the funds into the purchase of motorcycle taxis for Kenyan and Ugandan bodaboda riders and other income-generating equipment. It’s worth noting that Tugende has also raised $20 million in debt capital to grow its portfolio. Among its debt partners are Yunus Social Business, Partners Group Impact Investments, Symbiotics, US International Development Finance Corporation, Frankfurt School Financial Services, Global Social Impact Fund, Yunus Social Business, and Oikocredit. Michael Wilkerson is the CEO that formed the company in 2012.
The social lender’s core finance package includes life and medical insurance, training, digital credit profiles, safety equipment, and low-cost asset financing for SMEs. Tugende recently broadened the assets under its ownership to cars, refrigerators, boat engines, and several other income-generating equipments. All payment is made digitally and Tugende ensures all clients generate automatic credit scores that help monitor their performance while unlocking discounts on new products.
Partech is based in both Paris and San Fransisco, although it has investment teams across Senegal and Nairobi. In 2020 alone, the firm has backed 82 startups across Europe, America, Asia, and Africa. Enza capital, formed in 2019, is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. Thus far Enza Capital has supported 13 tech companies across Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, and Ghana. Tugende has a unique story where they started with 3 motorcycle drivers on handwritten contracts to over 43,000 customers, where 16,000 have received ownership of atleast one asset.
2020 has been difficult for businesses across Africa, especially the ride-hailing sector. New measures on social distancing and lockdowns have resulted in riders earning less, affecting their ability to feed their families.