Nigerian fintech startup focused on enabling commercial and economic prosperity by empowering Small and Medium-sized Businesses, Brass, has closed a $1,700,000 funding round to accelerate its vision.
Pan-African VC firm, Ventures Platform, CEO of Flutterwave; Olugbenga “GB” Agboola, Paystack’s co-founder; Ezra Olubi, Hustle Fund, Acuity Ventures and Uncovered Fund are investors who participated in the round.
Leveraging the funds raised, Brass targets expansion of its financial services to Kenya and South Africa next year, with incorporation into Kenya already formalised.
By launching a number of new product categories, Brass also plans to broaden its customer base, including an expansion of its credit markets.
The fintech was founded in July 2020 by the former Head of Product at Kudi, Sola Akindolu and the former Engineering Manager at Paystack, Emmanuel Okeke, currently the CEO and CTO of Brass respectively.
Providing a variety of services for SMEs across various sectors, helping them manage financial operations and business scale, the company’s product offerings include credit and payment services, payroll and expense management, API support, cash-flow analytics, team and contact management, and its business service offerings include POS, debit and credit cards.
With over 5,000 customers including students and entrepreneurs, Brass has disbursed over $2,000,000 in credit and recently introduced a cash-flow financing solution, Brass Capital, to speed up its service offerings to businesses.
Stimulating the company’s expansion drive across Africa, Brass has partnered with fintech unicorn, Flutterwave. Send.ng, Mono, and Eden, as well as restaurants, schools, and malls, are some of the startup’s clientele that utilises its platform as a primary money operation service provider.
Before the current investment round, Brass has raised funds from Olumide Soyombo of Voltron Capital, Leonard Stiegler, Fola Olatunji-David, Yemi Lawani, and two senior executives from prominent Nigerian banks.
Sola Akindolu, co-founder and CEO of Brass said the basic needs of Africa’s SMEs are just as significant and unique as those of the customers they serve each day and now more than ever. He further stated that innovative and world-class financial services solutions, that meet their expectations are needed.
“These local businesses have supported our economies for decades, forming the backbone of Africa’s success to date and now is the time to bet on them.”
“At Brass, we’ve made some great strides over the last year in tackling one of Africa’s most critically underserved customer bases but with an estimated $5.1 trillion credit gap globally, our work is far from over. This is why we’re delighted to welcome on board a number of vastly experienced and strategic investors, whose expertise will not only play a vital role ahead of our expansion into South Africa and Kenya, but also in our future ambitions outside of the continent.”
Kola Aina, founder and general partner at Ventures Platform, said: “We were immediately sold on Brass’s mission to make banking work for small businesses. For far too long banks have not worked for their customers. This challenge is even more chronic for small businesses; hence we are excited to be a Brass partner as they advance the mission to make banking work for African businesses – via their suite of products designed to help businesses succeed.”
Elizabeth Yin, general partner at Hustle Fund also commented:
“We are excited to back Sola, and the Brass team who are providing critical financial technology to Africa’s businesses, starting with Nigeria’s ~41.5 million businesses. We believe Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, and fintech sector is witnessing an unprecedented shift, and Brass is at the forefront of that, supporting local businesses and professionals with banking technology to supercharge their growth. We are excited by their vision, and honoured to be joining them on their journey.”
Lexi Novitske, managing partner at Acuity Ventures, said the real market opportunity in digital banking across Africa is enabling small businesses. He further emphasised the need of these businesses, which are tools required to scale. “With a Brass partnership, they’re able to grow alongside a committed partner for the long term. Meanwhile, data sources in Africa are still nascent.”
Novitske also stated that Brass’s suite of products including payments and dashboard services not only give small local businesses transparency and efficiency over their operations but enable Brass to provide banking products that meet the needs of these customers at lower risk.