Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Pivo receives $2 million to provide supply chain SMEs with financial services

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The news

  • After raising $550,000 in a pre-seed round, Nigerian fintech startup, Pivo, has followed it up with $2 million in seed funding. 
  • Nkiru Amadi-Emina and Ijeoma Akwiwu founded the startup in 2021 to provide financial services for African supply chain businesses. 
  • Backed by Precursor Ventures, Vested World, Y Combinator, FoundersX and Mercy Corp Ventures, the startup plans to expand beyond Nigeria while growing its team. 

In 2021, Dr Tunde Popoola, the Managing Director and Chairman of the Credit Bureau Association of Nigeria, disclosed that only four percent of MSMEs in Nigeria have access to credit despite the Central Bank of Nigeria’s efforts to boost credit to the sector. 

Despite accounting for 96% of businesses, 84% of employment, and contributing 48% of GDP, SMEs in Nigeria continue to struggle to access quality banking services. Access to loans remains a challenge, especially for supply chain businesses that often have a short window to deliver their services. 

For this group, Nkiru Amadi-Emina and Ijeoma Akwiwu founded Pivo, a neobank for supply chain businesses in Africa. Today, the one-year-old startup announces that it has closed a $2 million seed round to expand its product offerings, and this is in addition to a $550,000 pre-seed round it raised earlier in 2022. 

The startup, which was part of Y Combinator’s S22 batch, counts Precursor Ventures, Vested World, Y Combinator, FoundersX and Mercy Corp Ventures as its investors in this round. Buoyed by this fresh round of funding, the startup plans to expand beyond Lagos, where it currently operates, with East Africa on its radar.

The extra funding also means the startup can grow its team while adding new product lines for its customers. One such feature is a recurrent payment option. It also plans to improve transaction management and payment reconciliation for supply chains. 

According to Amadi-Emina, the startup’s CEO, Pivo Business, a new product launched after closing its seed round, has seen tremendous success, with transaction volumes growing 400% between April and September 2022. 

“After our pre-seed raise of $550,000 early in Q1 of this year, we launched a new product, Pivo Business, with features that supply chain SMEs can use to achieve better cash flow.” The transaction volume of Pivo Business accounts grew by over 400% between April and September. With this funding, we intend to build on existing products and develop solutions for supply chain anchors.” 

Before founding Pivo, Amadi-Emina and Akwiwu had garnered experience in the manufacturing and logistics industry, providing them with valuable insights when building Pivo and Daniel Block, Investment Principal at Mercy Corps Ventures, alluded to that experience when commenting on their reason for investing in the startup.

“When we initially invested last year, we believed that the founders’ deep logistics industry expertise and commitment to unattended supply chain SMEs would enable Pivo to rapidly carve out a deep moat in the competitive fintech lending space. As Pivo launches additional products to graduate from a pure fintech lender to a full-fledged financial services platform, we are excited to see the company deliver a full suite of financial services specifically designed for the needs of the unattended supply-chain sector SMEs they serve.” 

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