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Nomanini, the exciting enterprise payments platform provider startup has just announced a fresh round of funding from the Dutch-based impact investment firm Goodwell Investments.
While the exact deal amount was not revealed, it brings the total capital raised by Nomanini above the US$2.3-million mark. Given that the company had raised around US$2-million after its 2014 Series B round though, it seems likely that Goodwell’s investment is somewhere in low the hundreds of thousands of dollars range.
The deal marks the second on-the-ground investment made by Goodwell Investments in South Africa from its EUR 50-million uMunthu fund, which is targeting startups and high growth companies in the financial inclusion and fintech space in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Using a business-in-a-box model, Nomanini distributes and manages PoS terminal, which are essentially “mini-businesses”, and allow individuals to make a living or augment their existing micro-enterprise income. On the back of enterprise partnerships, the company has scaled into Ghana and Mozambique and claims to have enabled thousands of merchants to supplement their income, processing over 800 000 transactions monthly.
Wim van der Beek, managing partner at Goodwell Investments, said the impact investing firm – which already has three funds fully invested – is targeting startups at the early growth stage with high scalability promoting financial inclusion by utilising technology, something which Nomanini an ideal investment. “We expect a lot from their platform and their team. We only invest in companies and teams that have demonstrated a strong capability and growth potential. That is the case with Nomanini,” he said.
For his part, Nomanini CEO Vahid Monadjem believes striking a deal with Goodwell was all about finding the right investor at the right time. “The funds and relationship with Goodwell will be used to build towards a larger funding round to fuel the company’s explosive growth.
Goodwell is an ideal investor to bring on board at this juncture. They have a proven track record investing in innovative financial services companies, experience supporting fast-scaling teams, deep networks in the fintech sector and share our values to bring services to the underserved,” he said.
In order to qualify for the funding round, Nomanini had to prove not only the impact of the solution, but also its ability to scale.
“We believe Nomanini could become a global provider of a range of services for the informal retail market. It provides a solution that can be applied in all ‘majority markets’, though in Africa alone the sheer size of the addressable market is attractive,” said Van der Beek. “Nomanini’s micro-payment platform is flexible and can grow with its clients to include not only airtime but also insurance, energy and other services to improve access to affordable products and services for low income households.”
Goodwell currently has around EUR100 million assets under management, with 18 portfolio companies in Africa and India. According to the investment firm, those companies that “serve more than 9-million clients and have demonstrated rapid growth, generating excellent returns while creating significant social impact”.
The firm says it’s aiming to significantly expand its footprint and assets under management in Africa in the next five years, suggesting that we could see significantly increased levels of investment.
With uMunthu, the company is looking to raise EUR50-million from high net worth individuals, family offices, institutional investors and development institutions, and will make individual investments of between EUR 250 000 and EUR5-million in companies improving financial inclusion in Africa. Van der Beek said Goodwell was an active investor in its portfolio companies.
“We are not a traditional investor sitting in an office. We have a structure that is based on local teams that know local customs. That allows us to select the best companies and provide hands-on support to their management. In the early growth stages we are highly involved with the team and in key processes,” he said.
Though it has a different way of looking at the marketplace, Goodwell works in the same way as traditional VC funds.
“We believe that we can contribute to a better world by offering people better economic opportunities. That drives our business,” Van der Beek said. “But our criteria and processes are the same as with regular private equity and venture capital. Our track record demonstrates that. Our returns are excellent, better than many other VC funds.”
“Financial inclusion creates opportunities. Being able to transact, transfer, save or borrow money is one of the core elements of becoming included in the economy. But then you need a solid financial company to offer you the opportunity to do that, and to do that efficiently. That is why we invest in companies like Nomanini, he said.