Pastel, a Nigerian Bookkeeping and Digital platform for merchants is announcing a seed raise of $5.5 million led by pan-African venture capital firm TLcom Capital with participation from other VC firms such as Global Founders Capital (GFC), Golden Palm Investments, DFS Labs, Ulu Ventures, Plug and Play, and Soma Cap.
Formerly Sabi Cash, Pastel was founded by Abuzar Royesh, Olamide Oladeji and Izunna Okonkwo is based in Lagos with headquarters in US. The company’s flagship product, Sabi is a digital bookkeeping app that allows small businesses to monitor and manage their transactions and customers, get insights into their cashflows, issue receipts, and effectively manage customers who owe them.
Small businesses in Nigeria have stayed offline for years storing information and essential data offhand, on paper or ledgers. All these inefficiencies, asides from being time-consuming, lead to errors and affects cash flow and finance, which is why nine out of 10 small businesses in the country fizzle out in the first five years. Bookkeeping solutions such as Pastel’s help these businesses streamline processes digitally and save money.
The free app currently has more than 45,000 active merchant users. Pastel has recently added more features for merchants to capture more value in this chain. However, unlike other platforms that have bundled several features into one app, Pastel chose a different strategy and made each product standalone: Quick Receipt and Pastel Financing.
The Quick Receipt app provides businesses with simple invoicing and receipts tools and over 60,000 active merchant users. On the other hand, the SwiftMoney app, which leverages local saving groups called ajo in Nigeria to provide financing for businesses, has been stealthily built for the last three months through Pastel Financing.
“As a team, we are taking a product-led growth approach where we iterate after doing massive amounts of research into how users are using the solutions and what they are asking for,” said Okonkwo, Co-Founder.
The new capital will assist Pastel in increasing its efforts in this area as it looks to expand its product offerings and develop more productivity and finance management features and tools around group savings, loans and payments for small businesses.