Bamboo, a Nigerian startup that lets Africans buy and trade United States stocks in real-time, has raised a $15 million Series A funding to accelerate its growth, penetrate new markets and create more products.
The latest Series A round was led by Greycroft and Tiger Global with participation from Chrysalis Capital, Motley Fool Ventures, Saison Capital, and Y-Combinator’s Michael Seibel, amongst others.
Most Nigerians have only a handful of ways to save and invest. Over the years, Nigeria’s currency — naira — has experienced devaluation against the dollars and inflation rate is at 16%. Therefore, investing in dollars is a great way to hedge against the falling currency and inflation.
Bamboo (and a couple of others such as Chaka, Trove and Risevest) offers Africans the opportunity to invest in U.S. stocks. On the back of 2 years of accelerated growth, the startup seeks to enter new markets like Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. In April 2021, Bamboo announced its plan to launch in Ghana and more than 50,000 Ghanaians have joined the waitlist.
Bamboo plans to use the capital to accelerate its growth, doubling down on unlocking new markets and launching more products that will help Africans earn strong investment returns and build wealth.
While speaking on the fundraise, Bamboo’s CEO and co-founder Richmond Bassey said, “Our goal is simple: we want to give Africans and their asset managers easy, fast and secure access to global investment options that will allow them to earn real returns.
“We’re building the technology infrastructure powering financial services in Africa such that if you’re investing in the global capital markets from Africa, you’ll be doing so using Bamboo, directly or indirectly.
“We also want to make it seamless for African investors in the diaspora to discover the best investment opportunities on the continent. We’re excited about our work with local regulators so far to make this a reality.”
Greycroft partner, Ms Alison Lange Engel also spoke on the fundraise, indicating Greycroft excitement to support the innovative, user-first approach the Bamboo team is bringing to market.
“Bamboo is enabling Africans to build wealth by creating an investing platform that is helpful to both experienced investors and to those new to the stock market,” she said.
Since its launch in January 2020, Bamboo has gained over 300,000 accounts in Nigeria. While investing in stocks is new in Nigeria - nearly 75% of Bamboo users have never traded stocks before - Bamboo has rapidly grown in popularity with retail investors.
Bamboo also provides access to B2B customers through Powered by Bamboo, its API product that allows asset managers, fintech companies and other financial institutions to integrate Bamboo into their offerings in order to provide their customers access to global securities.
In 2021, repeat depositors made up 85% of deposits on the Bamboo platform. Repeat deposits show that Bamboo users rapidly gain confidence in trading US stocks.
Although Africa’s wealth management market is currently underdeveloped, it holds high potential. Africans account for over 16% of the world’s population, yet they own less than 1% of global wealth. However, this is expected to change. According to AfrAsia Bank, private wealth in Africa will increase by 30% to reach $2.6T by 2030.