Uganda may not be among the ‘big four’ African markets dominating the start-up ecosystem in the continent but, according to the Partech report, it ranked among the top 15 countries in Africa which received significant equity funding in 2021. The start-up space in this east African nation is lively and has enormous potential with innovations that provide digital solutions to routine matters.
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2019/2020 ranked Uganda as one of the most entrepreneurial countries globally, with a third of its citizens starting businesses every year. It currently holds the 14th position as Africa’s most competitive tech ecosystems.
Here are the ‘big five’ fintechs investment of 2021 to celebrate this country blooming start-up environment.
1. Numida: Digital, convenient, and responsible credit. Founded in 2017, this financial institution is growing semi formal, east African, micro businesses through access to digital and unsecured working capital with no paperwork, no collateral and no lengthy wait time. Last year, it raised $2.3 million in a seed round, funding it plans to use to expand aggressively in Uganda as well as pilot a new market in West Africa, starting with Ghana.
2. Ensibuuko: Banking the last mile. Ensibuuko helps organizations managing savings and loans to become efficient by automating their processes. It was founded in 2012 and operates a proprietary microfinance platform created specifically for African credit unions (SACCOs) and savings groups. Ensibuuko secured $1 million funding round and intents to drive growth within Uganda and into international markets.
3. gnugridcrb: The first-ever indigenous Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) in Uganda. Initially founded in 2019, gnugrid CRB was licensed by Bank of Uganda in November 2021. It helps financial institutions and off-grid solar companies filter out high-risk customers before a sale decision is made. The $612.5 raised in seed round funding has been used to set up data hosting servers and a state-of-the-art customer care service center, onboard staff, build the CRB platform, and implement sales and marketing strategies.
4. Asaak: Finance for the mobile generation. Asaak is an asset-financing company providing credit by lending motorcycles, fuel and smartphones to (bodaboda) taxi operators in Uganda, enabling them to own their own motorcycles on credit and to grow. The company started in 2016, lending to farmers and SMES, before switching to motorcycle financing in 2019. It raised $300, 000 in pre-Series A round funding in 2021. The funds would help scale the company’s operations within Uganda and beyond.
5. Fin-e Innovations: Addressing the glaring financing gap among local energy SMEs in Africa. Fin-e aims to do this through an innovative platform connecting last-mile distributors (LMDs) directly with investors. The platform proffers various advantages such as speeding up the investment cycle, reducing investment risk and allowing for small, ticket-size investments. It raised $300, 000 in a pre-seed funding round last year.