African Fintech Startup Okra Raises $3.5M Seed Round To Expand Infrastructure Across Nigeria
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Okra
According to a blog post published by the company, Okra announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Susa Ventures, with participation from existing investors such as TLcom Capital and newly-joined Accenture Ventures.
The round also brought in super angel investors to contribute, including Rob Solomon — Chairman at GoFundMe; Arpan Shah — founding engineer and ex-Head of Data Platforms/Data products at Robinhood; and Hongxia Zhong — founding engineer and ex- Senior engineering manager at Robinhood.
TechCrunch reports Okra has raised a total of $4.5 million between its first two funding rounds to date. Now the company intends to use the new investment to expand its financial data infrastructure across Nigeria.
Okra — which was founded in 2019 by Fara Ashiru Jituboh and David Peterside — is described as a “one-stop-shop” platform that “empowers companies and developers to build products with seamless access to inclusive financial data and secure payments,” according to its website.
The platform also claims to be connected to all banks in Nigeria with a 99.9 percent guaranteed uptime to give customers a faster and more efficient experience.
As a self-proclaimed super-connector, TechCrunch shares the startup’s purpose is to offer a safe and secure method of exchanging real-time financial information between customers, applications and banks in Nigeria. By expanding access to financial data, Okra is furthering the conversation around open banking.
“We are building an open finance infrastructure that enables developers and businesses to offer digital-first experiences and financial products,” Ashiru Jituboh tells TechCrunch. “We’re at a point where businesses are realizing that digital transformation is one of the most conversation happening in most boardrooms. So for us, we’re essentially just making tools and services needed to achieve digital transformation at scale with our APIs.”
Since the fintech startup has become so successful and is growing rapidly, the next challenge it faces is hiring a large enough team that can support the amount of customers the platform is serving.
“We want to ensure that we’re solving our customers’ problems as fast as possible and give the clients the support they need,” Ashiru Jituboh says. “We want to make sure our hiring speed is the same as the speed of our growth and I think being able to raise capital is one of the solvers of that problem… making sure we’re bringing great talent and building a great team.”
Co-founders Ashiru Jituboh and Peterside both have a wealth of knowledge in technical depth and finances, according to Omobola Johnson — Senior Partner at TLcom Capital — and believes they each have what it takes to lead Okra in a direction that will continue to build up Africa’s API (Application Programming Interface) infrastructure.
“Fara and David have a compelling vision and value proposition, and we believe Okra’s powerful technology can address critical challenges in the African financial market,” Tom Lounibos — Managing Director of Accenture Ventures — says in a statement. “We look forward to working together to help Okra scale its solutions for maximum impact.”
For more information about Okra, visit its website.