South African fintech firm Jumo raises US$52m to expand in Asia and Africa; CEO moves to Singapore

Jumo's chief executive officer, Mr Andrew Watkins-Ball, has relocated to Singapore to oversee the company’s growth in Asia.
Jumo's chief executive officer, Mr Andrew Watkins-Ball, has relocated to Singapore to oversee the company’s growth in Asia.PHOTO: JUMO

SINGAPORE - South African fintech firm Jumo has raised US$52 million (S$71.5 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, Mr 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 fund raising 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-Ball said 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, it has originated over US$700 million in loans on its platform and manages over 25 million customer interactions a month.

Through its partnerships, almost 120 million people 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, Britain, Singapore and South Africa.

Mr Jules Frebault, executive director at Goldman Sachs, said: "There is immense opportunity across Africa and beyond for Jumo to build on its 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 it continues to leverage technology to advance financial inclusion."