HAVAÍC, Aruwa, and AAIC conclude pre-series A investment in CrowdForce
HAVAÍC, Aruwa Capital Management (Aruwa), and Asian African Investment & Consulting (AA-IC) have this week announced a joint US$3.6 million pre-series A investment in CrowdForce. Empowering Nigeria's underserved and unbanked population, the financial services distribution platform mobilises banking services for last-mile customers in rural areas through its vast agent network.
10% of Africa’s 529 million financially excluded adults live in Nigeria, where 95% of retail transactions are conducted in cash. According to the World Bank, the country only has 4.3 bank branches and 17 ATMs per 100,000 adults. Launched in 2018, CrowdForce founders Oluwatomi and Damilola Ayorinde set out to improve access to financial services in partnership with cash-heavy small businesses. The company’s technology platform turns any merchant into a mobile bank branch to offer withdrawals, deposits, transfers, digital services, and utility payments in underserved areas in central and northern Nigeria. Cash is safely stored on a PayForce digital wallet.
“CrowdForce is solving a problem that is not only a Nigerian one but also a significant challenge for the African continent,” said Rob Heath, partner at HAVAÍC. “Access to affordable and reliable financial services is a key factor for economic growth in underserved and neglected communities,” he added
On track to bring financial services within one kilometre or 15 minutes from all Nigerians, CrowdForce currently counts over 19,000 fuel stations, 20,000 resellers, and 7,000 pharmacies among its expanding network of partners. And close to half of all agents are women from underserved communities. The capital raised will fund the expansion of the company’s existing agent network and capitalise on further corporate distribution partnerships.
“There is a clear need to build an offline distribution network to enable FinTechs and challengers to reach the mass market. This is exactly what we’re doing at CrowdForce, and this round of funding will further accelerate our momentum,” said Oluwatomi Ayorinde, co-founder and CEO at CrowdForce.
Going forward, HAVAÍC will act as an observer on the board to support CrowdForce’s expansion and rollout of further financial products.
“Given the company’s remarkable growth achievement since our first meeting in 2019 and unwavering commitment to service delivery, we are confident that they will continue their upward trajectory and make a lasting impact on many lives in the region,” added Heath.
“It’s been a pleasure to be a part of CrowdForce’s journey from early stage as MobileForms and the launch of PayForce to acceptance into US tech startup accelerator Y Combinator and now this new funding round with great investors,” said Kola Aina, seed investor in CrowdForce and founder at Ventures Platform.
Marking HAVAÍC’s seventh investment from its second fund, CrowdForce will join a diverse portfolio of 15 early-stage African tech businesses that serve a combined 4,189,896 customers across 183 countries.
The announcement follows HAVAÍC’s recent pre-series A investment in CompariSure to drive the expansion of its fast-growing call centre automation, sales force management, and market research services in the South African market.