Carbon—the foremost product of One Finance and Investment Limited—has officially announced its launch in Eastern African, Kenya.
This announcement comes four months after Chijioke Dozie, Co-founder and CEO of Carbon, announced that the digital financial services company was hiring a country manager to lead its operations in Kenya. Eliud Mungai, who formerly worked with Branch International—another mobile lending app—has been hired as the Country Manager of Carbon in Kenya.
According to Chijioke, the expansion will allow Carbon to bring its learnings from other African fintech markets (Nigeria) to Kenya, explore the factors responsible for the success of Kenyan financial services industry and how its success can be replicated in other African markets.
Our vision is to be a Pan-African digital bank for Africans and Africans in the diaspora. Taking our services to Kenya represents the first step in realising that vision and truly delivering financial services that Africans at home and abroad need to thrive and excel.
The official launch of Carbon, which was formerly called Paylater, in Kenya will allow Kenyans to access instant loans from as low as Ksh500 (~N1,800) to Ksh50,000 (N180,000), using their national identity number, a selfie, and the phone number associated with their mobile wallet. 9 out of 10 Kenyans have a mobile money account, largely thanks to M-Pesa—Safaricom's mobile money service. Through Carbon, Kenyans will also be to pay their utility bills and buy airtime.
Kenya is at the forefront of financial inclusion in Africa, as a result of its success with mobile money. More than 60% of Kenyans own a smartphone and over 27% of them have accessed loan digitally, Carbon noted in a statement sent to benjamindada.com. The Central Bank of Kenya has also projected that the country's mobile payment sector would be rise from $36 billion to $125 billion in value by 2025.
Earlier in October, same month Eliud was appointed as its country manager in Kenya, Carbon launched Carbon for Business, a digital financial services platform that will serve small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Thus, Carbon will also provide services for SMEs in Kenya and work towards providing free credit reports to Kenyan customers to promote financial education in the market.
In addition, Carbon plans to create a Kenya hub to support operations across Africa as it continues to expand, tapping into Kenya's vibrant fintech ecosystem and talent pool.
But Carbon is not the only Nigerian fintech company expanding across the African continent. While expansive growth across the continent is essential to the profitability of e-commerce companies like startups, most Nigerian tech startups are looking to other to boost their growth trajectory.
For instance, Flutterwave, which was founded in the same year as Carbon—2016, has launched in nine African countries: Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. Last year, Paystack also launched in Ghana.
However, Carbon stands out as a transparent fintech company. Earlier this year, it released its financial report for 2018. The report shows that $35.6 million worth of loans were disbursed and the company generated $10.4 million revenue in the year under review. Over the three years of operations, Carbon has garnered 1.8 million users.
Android users can download the Carbon app from the Google Play Store, but the iOS app is being developed.