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Kenya’s Kwara closes $4,000,000 seed round to launch neobank app for credit unions

With this, Kwara seeks to develop a neobank app where users can sign-up with their preferred credit unions to access various financial services

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Cynthia Wandia and David Hwan, co-founders, Kwara
Cynthia Wandia and David Hwan, co-founders, Kwara

Focused on building an inclusive banking system for savings and credit cooperatives societies (SACCOs), Kenyan startup Kwara, has closed a $4,000,000 seed funding round.

With this, Kwara seeks to develop a neobank app where users can sign-up with their preferred credit unions to access various financial services.

Set to be launched mid next year, the goal is to open up new borderless avenues for lending institutions to sign up new members and help credit unions go digital. 

Users will also be able to track personal financial flows from the app of which its beta version has been tested for feasibility, with uptake of between 60% and 90%.

Kwara’s seed round was led by Breega, with participation from SoftBank Vision Fund Emerge, Finca Ventures, New General Market Partners, Globivest, Do Good Invest, Rabacap, Launch Africa, Norrsken Impact Accelerator, Future Africa, Samurai Incubate and DOB Equity. 

Several fintech executives, including founders of Meltwater, The Flex Company, ComplyAdvantage, Salesforce and PayPal also participated.

Founded in 2018 by Cynthia Wandia and David Hwan, Kwara has built a digital banking platform designed to help unbanked and underbanked individuals to build wealth together in a frictionless way. 

The company connects the savings cooperatives with banks, payment gateways and other third parties through an open API. This all comes in one software-as-a-service package, which enables cooperative clients pay for their usage and get a single end-to-end solution. 

Kwara affirms that its existing clients have experienced a membership growth of over 19% year-on-year, three times the global average, as the loan base of credit unions using its technologies went up 46%, about five times the national average. The platform supports $40,000,000 in transactions between credit unions and their members.

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We are building a solution for people – an estimated one billion – who do not currently have access to personalised banking services. This is the result of a gap in banking-grade technology and the lack of neobank-like experiences for the end clients. We’ve been thrilled to see the excitement around the Kwara brand among credit unions and their members, which is fast becoming synonymous with a superior user experience and the future of banking,” said Cynthia Wandia, CEO, Kwara.

Thanks to our investors, we will now be able to offer an end-client experience that is 100 times better than what they previously had access to.”

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Ben Marrel, founding partner at Breega, said there was increasing interest in how to build wealth through community, as well as a shift in consumer preferences towards digital-first banking.

Kwara’s unique approach is a catalyst for a new way of retail banking through digital-first credit unions. We are both proud and excited to be helping this outstanding team scale across Africa and other emerging markets,” he said.

 

​Joan Aimuengheuwa is a content writer who takes keen interest in the scopes of innovation among African startups. She thrives at meeting targets and expectations. Contact: [email protected]

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