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May 16, 2022

Kenyan fintech Asilimia raises $2 million in a pre-seed round, plans to extend loans to MSMEs and expand in East Africa

Kenyan fintech Asilimia raises $2 million in a pre-seed round, plans to extend loans to MSMEs and expand in East Africa

Kenyan fintech Asilimia has secured $2 million in pre-seed funding to deliver new services and expand into new East African markets. The fintech startup raised the $1 million in pre-seed funding from some European angel investors. An additional debt round of $1 million was further raised from players such as Bpifrance and GreenTec Capital Partners.

The secured funds will be channeled towards growing the team and expansion while the debt funding will help the company extend credit to MSMEs.

Asimilia is creating an easy-to-use yet affordable digital platform that formalizes payments, revenue collection, and accounting for small businesses. Entrepreneurs can record expenses and sales, track pending payments, and gain financial insights through a simplified dashboard.

In addition to enabling users to make mobile money transactions at no fee, Leja also supports bookkeeping, making it easier for the traders to track their revenues and outflows, without the need for technical or accounting knowledge. The platform provides valuable data that Asilimia plans to tap to extend loans to users.

Mwendwa said that Asilimia will create credit scoring models from the collected data to determine how much will be extended to borrowers.

“We will factor in their b2b transactions, cash flow, sales, liabilities and expenses because all this information is in the app. This is possible because traders love to use our app which, unlike other lending apps, has inventory management. I like to think of our app as the operating system of informal businesses and we are happy that it is a one-stop shop for the traders,” said Mwendwa.

“Another thing that traders struggle with is airtime top-up. We interact with them daily and understand their pain points, and so we want to give them all the support they need so that they can continue doing business – we will also extend airtime top up credit at no interest,” he said.

Tekwane said that a normal user makes about three transactions through the app every day and the business has been growing 30% week on week. About 27,000 users use its apps, with total transactions done through the Leja app reaching about $20 million.

Previously, the startup has been through the prestigious Station F incubation program in Paris and the Norrsken Impact Accelerator program. In 2019, the startup won the Africa Cup at the 2019 SA Innovation Summit, securing a $350,000 investment from Unicorn Group, a pan-African investment firm. It used the financing to fund its growth which included adding Leja to its portfolio.

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