Nigerian FinTech Startup, Migo, has completed a Series B equity round of $20 million as it plans to support talent acquisition, launch into the Brazillian market and increase its growth in Nigeria. Migo, which was formerly known as Mines.io uses a cloud-based platform to enable companies to offer credit to their customers, augmenting traditional bank and payment card infrastructure.
“Our mission is to drive commerce around the world by injecting liquidity into the last-mile retail sector,” said Ekechi Nwokah in a statement. “We believe the best way to achieve this goal is to build digital infrastructure to empower local enterprises that already serve millions of consumers and small businesses,” he further added.
The Series B equity funding round of $20 million was led by Valor Capital Group (a Brazil-focused venture capital firm), existing investors; The Rise Fund (managed by TPG Growth) and Velocity Capital, with new investors – Africinvest and Cathay Innovation – joining the funding round. Currently, there is an estimated 90 million adults in Nigeria and 100 million adults in Brazil that have no access to credit. This is a massive area of untapped growth for emerging market banking ecosystems.
Joining Migo’s Board of Directors, as a part of the financing move is Antoine Colaco from Valor Capital. Colaco in his statement said: “Migo combines world-class technology with a deep understanding of the needs of consumers and small businesses in emerging markets.” He further stated thus: “We are excited to partner with them in Brazil and beyond.”
The FinTech Startup is aimed at reinventing the way people access and use credit in emerging markets. Companies which include banks, telecommunications operators and merchants would integrate Migo in their apps and in turn, Migo would support customers to provide them with a digital account and credit line. Customers would be able to use the credit line to make purchases from a merchant or withdraw cash without the need for point-of-sale hardware or plastic cards. Migo serves underbanked customers who are not typically covered by credit bureaus, having supported more than seven million of these customers to date.
“The typical Silicon Valley approach of move-fast-and-break-things doesn’t work well in emerging markets,” said Adia Sowho, Migo’s Vice President of Growth. “To create durable solutions, it is important to combine the audacity of cutting-edge technology with humility to the nuances of local markets,” she added.
Migo offers a simple Application Programming Interface(API) to partners. This API enables partners to offer co-branded credit services in their own apps and websites, which would increase customer engagement and serve customer segments they were not previously able to serve. The FinTech is particularly attractive for merchants and payment gateways because it can grow merchant revenue due to its increased customer purchasing power and transaction completion rate.
Migo enables some of the largest retail enterprises in Africa—from mobile operators like 9mobile and MTN to payment companies like Interswitch and Flutterwave to banks like Bank of Industry and Fidelity Bank. Migo is now expanding to Brazil and partnering with some of the largest retail enterprises in Latin America.
The FinTech started out as a research project on high-performance artificial intelligence led by Migo Chief Scientist, Kunle Olukotun, a professor of computer engineering at Stanford University. This project came to life after a chance meeting between Olukotun and Nwokah, a computer scientist working on big data projects at Amazon Web Services. Following their meeting, the pair teamed up to direct the technology toward solving credit in emerging markets. This big data approach is one of the company’s key advantages, as it aggregates massive amounts of data across all of its partners to improve population coverage and credit decisions over time. Migo is headquartered in San Francisco, California.
By Ishioma Eni