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Banking on Uganda’s Informal Businesses Pays Off

Ugandan fintech startup Numida, which uses proprietary credit models and tech-enabled underwriting processes to provide unsecured working capital loans to African micro and small businesses (MSBs), has raised a US$12.3 million pre-Series A round of equity and debt funding to help it expand its team and move into new markets. Launched by Mina Shahid, Catherine Denis and Ben Best in 2017, Numida began life enabling traditional MFIs to provide unsecured credit to semi-formal businesses, but soon pivoted to begin lending to micro and small businesses directly. Business owners download the Numida app, apply in minutes, and receive capital within a day, disbursed to their mobile money wallet. “Our claim to fame is that we’ve figured out how to score and disburse unsecured working capital to cash-based businesses that have no digital transaction history. We’re not reliant on any digital POS or ecommerce marketplace data and we also don’t scrape people’s phones. This has allowed us to significantly broaden our customer segment and serve the mom and pop shops that make up the majority of businesses in Africa,” said Shahid. Since its US$2.3 million seed round in April 2021, Numida has grown 7.5x and provided more than US$20 million in unsecured working capital to 27,000 MSBs in Uganda. Its US$12.3 million pre-Series A round will help it move into more markets and expand its team. Strong contenders for the first phase of Numida’s pan-African growth include Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, and Kenya.