Fintech company uKheshe recently announced the completion of its first seed investment round. uKheshe was initially under incubation as a CSI initiative within Jini.Guru, a software development house. uKheshe has successfully closed independent seed funding with both Fitech Ventures and the Ocean on 76 Group.
Co-founder of uKheshe, Clayton Hayward, says that financial inclusion remains the over-riding imperative of the service. “Having access to a transaction account is the first step towards broader financial inclusion. Since launching, we have seen, through tremendous uptake, that these services are not only needed but will significantly impact the overall financial inclusion of unbanked and underbanked South Africans,” Hayward commented.
Chris Lister-James, a seed investor from Fitech Ventures, says that while it is difficult to accurately value early-stage fintech companies, uKheshe’s current flight path has justified the initial valuation of $6.5 million. “The market opportunity is enormous and we are excited about our investment and the role we will play in providing sustainable financial services. Having invested in several early-stage fintech start-ups, we have some great complementary companies and look forward to playing both a financial and strategic role in the growth of uKheshe,” Lister-James remarked.
Digital migration is quickly becoming a reality and another seed investor from uKheshe, CEO for Ocean on 76 Group Prins Mhlanga, says that services like uKheshe will greatly improve financial inclusion because it offers an easy-to-use and affordable alternative. “Usage and the subsequent sustainability of the platform will ensure that as the world continues to embrace digital transformation, the majority won’t be left behind,” adds Mhlanga.
Lister-James comments that while most countries in Africa remain largely cash-based, with the majority of them being low-income earners, who are wary of banking fees and distrust financial service providers, he still believes there is an immense opportunity. “The significant cell phone penetration enables [fintech companies], such as uKheshe, to develop convenient, cost-effective, digital financial services solutions that can circumvent the existing financial services providers. We view this disruption as not only positive but necessary,” Lister-James comments.
Lister-James said that the uKheshe investment will extend between 3 to 5 years which he remarks is a realistic time-frame. Hayward added that the next funding round for uKheshe will be series A, but the timing of this investment is still pending.
Edited by Kojo Essah
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