OZÉ, a Ghana-based fintech startup that focuses on scaling small African businesses through digitized operations and affordable capital has raised $3 million in a pre-Series A round.
This new investments is coming exactly one year after OZÉ raised $700,000 in a seed round. European early-stage venture capital firm, Speedinvest led the latest round with the participation from Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund, Savannah Capital and other unnamed angel investors.
With the new funding, OZÉ intends to build its talent base, acquire more customers, deepen its presence in Ghana and Nigeria, and begin expansion plans into new African markets, per TechCrunch.
Founded in 2018, OZÉ leverages users' data to build credit profiles that will help them access no-collateral loans from banks. They will leverage the seed round to grow its team, expand to Nigeria, and promote the iOS version of its app.
MSMEs contributes 38% of sub-Saharan Africa's GDP but up to 51% of them lack the necessary finance to grow. According to the International Finance Corporation, the MSME credit gap in Sub-Saharan Africa stands at $331 billion.
There are so many factors behind this gap. Some of them being that some MSMEs do not have proper business model, collateral, no credit history, or lack formal business education. OZÉ is looking to bridge this gap by leveraging its business app and proprietary credit risk algorithm to make it seamless for banks to offer no-collateral loans to MSMEs.
Currently, the Ghana-based fintech startup is enabling over 125,000 business owners in Ghana and Nigeria. In 2021 OZÉ’s active monthly users grew by 1,200%. The company said that the number of loans granted on the platform also increased by 200% from Q3 to Q4 of 2021. According to OZE, 97% of business owners using the platform run businesses that are growing, profitable, or both.
In Ghana, businesses can accept payments via mobile money or card and a bank transfer or card in Nigeria. OZÉ as a choice of payment instead of using other platforms or cash will have higher credit limits and lower interest rates.