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Fintech startup Jumo secures US$12.5m from investment firm Odey Asset Management

SOUTH African fintech firm Jumo has secured US$12.5 million from London-based investment firm Odey Asset Management, bringing total funds raised to more than US$103 million.

This investment marks the close of the company’s most recent funding round. In September, Jumo raised US$52 million in the round led by Goldman Sachs and supported by France's French Development Agency subsidiary Proparco, as well as Finnfund, Vostok Emerging Finance, Gemcorp Capital and LeapFrog Investments.

Jumo manages a platform that provides financial services - such as loans and savings products - from partner banks to individuals and small businesses in emerging markets via mobile phones.

A potential borrower's credit risk profile is generated from behavioural data gathered through mobile networks. This helps banks that do not have data on these people to determine a credit score.

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The firm said that the additional funds will be used to further develop Jumo’s technology platform and for expansion in Africa and Asia. Jumo has offices in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Zambia, Pakistan, the UK, Singapore and South Africa.

It set up its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore earlier in the year and has plans to enter several new Asian markets in 2019. Jumo chief executive officer Andrew Watkins-Ball relocated to Singapore earlier this year to oversee the company's growth in Asia.

Since the firm's launch in 2014, more than 10 million people have saved or borrowed on the Jumo platform, with nearly 70 per cent of them being micro and small business owners across Africa and Asia. To date, Jumo has originated almost US$1 billion in loans; it manages over 45 million customer interactions per month.

The company announced last week a partnership with Uber to launch Jumo Drive, a vehicle finance product. The credit risk score of drivers is determined by the driver’s earnings, trips and behaviour patterns, and finance for the cars is provided by bank partners on the Jumo platform.

The product has been successfully piloted in Kenya, with the intention to expand the offering across Sub-Saharan Africa in 2019.