ImaliPay Gets $3million In Funding To Provide Financial Services

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ImaliPay Gets $3million In Funding To Provide Financial Services
ImaliPay Gets $3million In Funding To Provide Financial Services

In Africa, the gig economy is rapidly expanding. Despite this expansion, the status of workers who are viewed as contractors rather than employees has not changed.

Being a contractor is disadvantageous because many of them, particularly in the two-wheeler space, lack access to certain financial services. Some gig platforms have attempted to integrate financial services into their systems, but their success has been limited.

In the meantime, other fintechs are offering a broader range of financial services to these gig workers (who, according to the Mastercard Foundation, are expected to reach over 80 million by 2030). ImaliPay is one such example.

Tatenda Furusa and Oluwasanmi Akinmusire launched it in late 2020 after Furusa noticed the difficulties ride-hailing drivers faced when accessing working capital or in emergencies such as running out of fuel in Nairobi.

When asked how the company got started, CEO Furusa told TechCrunch on a call, “A couple of things connected to this point.” “Once, a Bolt driver ran out of fuel in Nairobi as I was leaving the airport and I couldn’t top off right away.” “It got me thinking about what other pains these gig workers might be going through,” he said. “We investigated the gig economy and discovered that it was underserved by some financial services.”

The company, which bills itself as a one-stop shop for financial services, has closed a $3 million seed round in debt and equity. The fintech raised $800,000 in pre-seed funding.

ImaliPay’s pilot was inspired by Furusa’s experience: a buy now, pay later (BNPL) fuel product, but for two-wheeler gig platforms, as the company collaborated with a few fuel stations in Ibadan, Nigeria, to provide this service to SafeBoda riders.

The startup then built a partner ecosystem in which some partners give it access to new users while others support its ecosystem and marketplace.

“We built other services around spare parts, smartphones, power banks, savings and investments, and insurance that came with those products,” Furusa explained. “We intertwine these products, like accident covers and income protection loss insurance, so gig workers can qualify for each product based on their transactional behavior.”

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The former is primarily the responsibility of gig platforms. In this category, it has 15 partners, including Bolt, Glovo, SWVL, Amitruck, Safeboda, Gokada, and Max.ng.

However, vendors who sell fuel, spare parts, mobile phones, and other items that gig workers require make up the latter. The same is true for platforms with which ImaliPay has collaborated to provide additional financial services such as insurance (health and income protection loss) and savings in Kenya and South Africa, in collaboration with various gig platforms.

They number around 35 in total, and some of them are Lami, Cowrywise, Ola Energy, Total Energies, HiFi Corporation, and Britam. It provides these financial services to the network’s gig workers by connecting its APIs to partner companies or directly through an independent app.

ImaliPay’s user base has grown 60 times in 15 months. These “tens of thousands” of gig workers, according to the company, use its services through 4,500 vendor points. ImaliPay’s platform has handled over 200,000 transactions. Transaction and referral fees generate revenue for the pan-African embedded finance provider.

Before starting ImaliPay, COO Akinmusire and Furusa met while working at Cellulant. They received funding from Google Black Founders Fund in October of last year before closing this seed round, which included Leonnis Investments.

Following investors in the round included Ten 13, Uncovered Fund, MyAsia VC, Jedar Capital, Logos Ventures, Plug N Play Ventures, Untapped Global, Latam Ventures, Cliff Angels, Chandaria Capital, and Changecom. Angel investors such as Keisuke Honda of KSK Angels, as well as others from Serbia, Kenya, and Norway, took part.

According to the founders, the investment will be used to grow the company’s 50-person team, improve its technology, and expand into new markets such as Ghana and Egypt.