South African fintech startup uKheshe has raised US$500,000 in seed funding to help it expand usage of its platform, which has been built to broaden financial inclusion.
Founded in 2015, uKheshe is a micro transaction platform that allows cardholders to pay and get paid. Unlike e-wallets or QR payment services, uKheshe works based on a user’s lifestyle, and is Masterpass certified, accepting payment from Zapper, SnapScan and other banking apps.
The startup has announced the completion of its first seed investment round from Fitech Ventures and the Ocean on 76 Group to help with its expansion. The amount of funding is undisclosed, but the investment values uKheshe at ZAR100 million (US$6.5 million).
Co-founder Clayton Hayward said financial inclusion remains the overriding imperative of the service.
“Having access to a transaction account is the first step towards broader financial inclusion. Since launching, we have seen, through tremendous uptake, that these services are not only needed but will significantly impact the overall financial inclusion of unbanked and underbanked South Africans,” he said.
Chris Lister-James, founder and director of Fitech Ventures, said the market opportunity was “enormous” and that he was excited about the investment and the role his firm will play in providing sustainable financial services.
“Having invested in several early-stage fintech startups, we have some great complementary companies and look forward to playing both a financial and strategic role in the growth of uKheshe,” he said.
Hayward said the next funding round for uKheshe will be Series A, but the timing of this investment is yet to be determined.