Nigerian fintech platform and Open Finance (API Economy) pioneers, Okra, have secured a $3.5m Seed raise. The round was led by US-based Susa Ventures, with participation from existing investors TLcom Capital, and newly joined Accenture Ventures. This comes just under a year from closing its $1m pre-Seed round with only TLcom Capital participating in the round. This brings Okra’s total funding at seed to $4.5m. The capital will be deployed to expand Okra’s data infrastructure across Nigeria.
Founded by Fara Ashiru Jituboh and David Peterside in January 2020, Okra’s Open Finance platform is the digital transformation tool for businesses in Africa and its API enables developers and businesses to build personalized digital services and fintech products for customers.
Since its launch, the fintech infrastructure company has provided its services to high calibre financial institutions, startups, and government agencies including Interswitch, Access Bank, uLesson, Aella App (YC W17) and over 100 digital-first platforms. In just under a year from launch, the fintech infrastructure company has seen an avg. month-on-month API call growth of 281%. In addition, the company has analyzed 20M+ transactions and analyzed over 5.5M transaction lines in March 2021 alone.
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Fara Ashiru Jituboh, Okra co-founder and CEO/CTO says, “We build the tools that businesses need to achieve full digital transformation and we are excited to be welcoming some highly strategic global investors as we scale our Open Finance-as-a-Service operations. The opportunities to collaborate and grow together are significant and we are now in a strong position to continue to build and scale in the African, and global API space.”
David Peterside, Okra co-founder and COO says, “The companies that will dominate the business landscape over the next decade are prioritizing a digital-first experience for their customers today — and will leverage data & personalization to win market share over time. We share the same vision on Open Finance in Africa and are excited to be working closely with the team at Susa.
Having Accenture Ventures join us at Seed stage speaks volumes about our team’s ability to execute at a global scale.”
Leading the round, San Francisco-based Susa Ventures is known as one of the premium seed-stage funds in Silicon Valley with notable early investments including Robinhood, Flexport, Andela and Fast. Susa is also known for co-investing with top tier firms like Peter Theil’s Founders Fund, Index Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, GV (Google Ventures), General Catalyst, Andreessen Horowitz, & Accel Partners.
Susa’s General Partners include Chad Byers, who is the son of Brook Byers, a founding member of Kleiner Perkins; Leo Polovets, ex-LinkedIn and Google engineer; and Seth Berman, who was previously the VP of marketing at luxury good company Richemont (CFR: VX) — owners of Cartier, Montblanc, Piaget, etc. Seth Berman, General Partner at Susa adds, “We’re thrilled to partner with Okra as they enable developers across the African continent to transform digital financial services. We’re blown away by the quality of Okra’s team, the pace of development, and the excitement from the customers building on their API.”
Omobola Johnson, Senior Partner at TLcom Capital and Former Minister of ICT in Nigeria says, “We have consistently been impressed with Fara’s technical depth and expertise, which when combined with the entrepreneurial acumen she and David bring to the company leaves us confident that they are building Africa’s most stable and robust API infrastructure. TLcom is delighted to continue partnering with Okra.”
Accenture, a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security also participates in this round, with Tom Lounibos, Managing Director,t Accenture Ventures adding, “Fara and David have a compelling vision and value proposition, and we believe Okra’s powerful technology can address critical challenges in the African financial market. We look forward to working together to help Okra scale its solutions for maximum impact.”
Beyond Susa and Accenture Ventures, Okra brought on three super angels to this round. Rob Solomon; Chairman at GoFundMe — he is also a former Partner at Accel, Arpan Shah; Founding engineer and ex-Head of Data Platforms/Data products at Robinhood, and Hongxia Zhong; Founding engineer and ex-Senior engineering manager at Robinhood.
Consumer behaviour in Africa is changing and consumers are demanding full digital experiences of all services — including financial services. Across the business landscape, the number one priority across every board room is digital transformation and Okra is the go-to platform for developers and businesses to build end-to-end personalized digital experiences for consumers in Africa.
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