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Zoona secures US$15-m in funding

Zoona secures US$15-m in funding

African FinTech company Zoona has secured US$15 million in financing that the company says will boost its plans to reach 10 markets and 30 million active consumers across the continent by 2020.

The company currently has operations in Malawi and Zambia, and secured the funding in a Series B second round of financing led by the IFC (International Finance Corporation), a member of the World Bank Group.

According to a statement issued by Zoona, first round investors Accion, a global nonprofit and pioneer in the field of financial inclusion, and Omidyar Network, an impact investment firm started by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, reaffirmed their commitment to Zoona by more than doubling their respective investments during the Series B round.

The FinTech firm added that it has secured investment from the Lundin Foundation, 4Di Capital, as well as Patrick Pichette, former Google CFO and long-time Zoona advisor.

"Technology has the potential to bring about financial inclusion to underserved communities across Africa," said Zoona CEO Mike Quinn. "This investment round marks a key milestone in our journey to build a billion-dollar business that helps communities thrive."

Andi Dervishi, Global Head of IFC's Fintech Investment Group, added, "As the world economies transit from cash-based to cashless, an entire infrastructure is needed to make that transition possible and ensure equal availability of both 'currencies'. Zoona has made this possible in Zambia and Malawi and is planning to do the same in many other markets in Africa. Whether in the form of a money transfer or a cash collection network, these retail footprints play an important role in acceptance and adoption of the new form of money and will be critical for the financial service industry as it transforms itself."

Zoona is relying on its 'over-the-counter' vs mobile-wallet approach for local remittance and its network agnostic system to differentiate it within an ever-competitive space. The belief among decision makers at the company is that most FinTech operators are not focused on the peer-to-peer component, which gives it a competitive advantage.

"Our key offering centres on Peer to Peer transfers / remittances, as opposed to the payments functionality which is the focus of many of the other players in the fintech space," the company explains.

Zoona's short-term objective is to enter DRC, Ghana and Mozambique.

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