Carbon, a Nigeria-based digital financial services company has expanded into East Africa’s biggest economy. With the entry into Kenya, the FinTech firm aims to drive more purposeful and responsible lending in the market, it said in a press release.
Kenyans can now access instant loans – from Ksh 500 to 50,000 – using their national ID number, a selfie-and the phone number linked to their mobile wallet. They will also get access to payment services to settle utility bills as well as buy airtime directly from the Carbon app.
“Our vision is to be a Pan-African digital bank for Africans and Africans in the diaspora,” said Chijioke Dozie, CEO and co-founder of Carbon. “Taking our services to Kenya represents the first step in realizing that vision.”
Carbon is also targeting SMEs, as well as working towards providing free credit reports to Kenyan customers to promote financial education in the market.
“This expansion presents an opportunity to bring some learnings from other African successful FinTech markets to Kenya,” Dozie added. The Carbon platform has been fully integrated with various partners in Nairobi including Transunion CRB, MPesa and other payment platforms.
The expansion also presents an opportunity for the firm to explore the “successful” Kenyan financial services industry and see how the success can be replicated in other markets, Dozie noted.
Kenya is one of the leaders of the African FinTech industry. The mobile payment sector is valued at $36 billion and it is expected to reach a $125 billion valuation by 2025 according to the Central Bank of Kenya.
The success is largely attributable to a progressive regulatory environment and high levels of financial inclusion. Over 60 percent of Kenyans own a smartphone and more than one in four (27 percent) has taken a digital loan.
Carbon plans to create a Kenya hub, the company revealed. The goal is to tap into the country’s “vibrant FinTech ecosystem and talent pool” to support operations across the continent amid further expansion.
A subsidiary of OneFi, Carbon is a global company of over 90 employees with operations in Nigeria, England, and Kenya. The platform empowers individuals and businesses with access to credit, simple payment solutions, high-yield investment opportunities and easy-to-use tools for personal financial management.
Since launching in 2016, Carbon has amassed 1.8 million users and disbursed more than $35.6 million in loans. In 2018, it achieved revenues of $10.4 million. While it secured a $5 million debt facility from Lendable, a New York and Nairobi-based technology-enabled funding provider, in March 2019.
The Carbon app, which is available on the Google Playstore, comes with a wide range of features such as cashback and loan top-up. More features are planned in the coming year, while the IOS version will also be available shortly, the company said.