Kenyan fintech startup, Kwara has raised $4million in a seed round which it aims to utilize in building a neobank powered by credit unions.
Kwara was founded in 2019 to foster credit unions’ — also referred to as Savings and Credit Cooperatives Societies (SACCOs) — digitalisation by providing them with Back-end-as-a-service (BaaS) software. In the past two years of operating, the startup has grown from serving only 2 clients to serving 50. Showing that Kenya’s credit unions are welcoming the change to digital platforms.
The plan for Kwara now is to build the neobank which will allow credit union members to have access to quick loans and other services such as insurance, offering end-to-end solutions to its clientele. Kwara’s neobank app, which is set to launch in the middle of next year, will enable people to sign up with a credit union of their choice in order to access a range of financial services.
Cynthia Wandia, Kwara co-founder and CEO, said to TechCrunch, “We want to make credit unions as efficient as they can be by giving their members the kind of neobank experiences they wish to have.”
David Hwan, Kwara co-founder and COO, further explained that the app will empower users to monitor their financial statements, apply for loans and make loan repayments. He said that by providing this app, credit unions can be afforded more freedom to focus on their core business or “more value-added tasks.”
The seed round was led by Breega VC firm and had other participants including SoftBank Vision Fund Emerge, Do Good Invest, Future Africa, Norrsken Impact Accelerator, amongst others.
Regarding this investment, Ben Marrel, Breega’s founding partner, said; “Over the years, we’ve seen an increasing interest in how to build wealth through community, as well as a shift in consumer preferences towards digital-first banking. Kwara’s unique approach is a catalyst for a new way of retail banking through digital-first credit unions.”
So far, Kwara’s clients have seen a membership growth of over 19% year-on-year, and Kwara has processed $40million worth of transactions between credit unions and their members.