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South Africa fintech firm JUMO raises US$52m to drive expansion in Asia and Africa

Andrew Watkins-Ball - JUMO2.jpg
Andrew Watkins-Ball, chief executive officer of South African fintech firm JUMO, has relocated to Singapore to drive the company's expansion in Asia.

SOUTH African fintech firm JUMO has raised US$52 million in its latest funding round led by Goldman Sachs, which joins as a new investor.

The funds will be used for the firm’s expansion into new growth markets in Asia and Africa. JUMO’s chief executive officer Andrew Watkins-Ball has relocated to Singapore to oversee the company’s growth in Asia.

The latest round of funding, which involves investors such as Gemcorp Capital, Finnfund and French Development Agency (AFD) subsidiary Proparco, brings the firm’s total fundraising to date to US$90 million.

JUMO is a platform that provides financial services - such as loans and savings products - from partner banks to individuals and small businesses via mobile phone networks.

It targets people who have limited or no access to essential financial services, and who live in emerging markets where the population is going online for the first time via mobile.

Mr Watkins said that the support of Goldman Sachs and other investors is a significant endorsement of the firm.

“We are working hard to connect hundreds of millions of people with access to the best possible choices from leading banks,” he said. “We are proving that the evolution of computation and storage means that there is no longer any reason why the best financial products should not be available to people in the early stages of building wealth.”

Since its launch in 2014, more than nine million people have saved or borrowed on the JUMO platform, with nearly 70 per cent of these being micro and small business owners, said the firm in a press statement.

To date, JUMO has originated over US$700 million in loans on its platform and manages over 25 million customer interactions per month.

Through its partnerships, almost 120 million users have access to the platform. The firm counts Norwegian multinational telecommunications firm Telenor and South African bank First National Bank (FNB) among its partners.

The company has offices in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, Zambia, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, Singapore and South Africa.

Jules Frebault, executive director at Goldman Sachs, said: “There is immense opportunity across Africa and beyond for JUMO to build on their successful track record developing digital marketplace infrastructure to offer mobile subscribers access to relevant financial products. We are excited to partner with this highly capable team as they continue to leverage technology to advance financial inclusion.”