IROKO co-founder Bastian Gotter raises $3.2M seed for brand new enterprise, Bamba

In 2010, Bastian Gotter invested as much as $200,000 into IROKOtv, an African video-on-demand firm Jason Njoku, his buddy and co-founder, launched in Lagos, Nigeria.

For the subsequent couple of years, Gotter, as CFO, was instrumental in turning IROKO — after elevating over $30 million from VCs, together with Tiger International — right into a family identify in Nigeria’s leisure and tech scenes.

Gotter left the media firm in 2017, an exit that afforded him the possibility to take up angel investing full-time and pursue new initiatives. Gotter has reduce checks in Paystack, Flutterwave and betPawa and co-runs Spark, an funding automobile he launched with Njoku.

In 2018, he began a pre-school chain based mostly within the U.Ok. and South Africa. Two years later, he turned a part of the founding workforce of Kenyan-based fintech PawaPay, whose API connects as much as 25 telecom operators’ cell cash methods and permits retailers from 10 nations to obtain and ship funds between cell cash accounts.

Gotter is an investor and board member in PawaPay, roles that may be energetic and passive relying on who’s concerned. For Gotter, it was extra of the latter, and so this January, he started to discover different alternatives within the cell cash funds house, particularly regarding small companies. This led him to start out Bamba, a mobile-based enterprise software program for African micro-merchants, that has raised $3.2 million.

After spending a while in Kenya (the place he was now used to paying by way of cell cash and barely money), he observed that companies relied closely on guide bookkeeping and didn’t have software program to file their money and cell cash transactions.

“In addition they recorded inventory elements and had some type of buyer relationship administration on WhatsApp. It wasn’t a coherent image and was only a massive mess,” he stated on a name to TechCrunch. “And that’s the place we finally noticed a chance to launch Bamba.”

Micro, small and medium-sized companies make up 90% of all companies in sub-Saharan Africa. And there are new upstarts that present digital bookkeeping providers for a minute variety of them in West Africa, comparable to Sabi Money, Bumpa, Kippa and OZÉ. Bamba is an identical resolution for Kenya and surrounding East African markets, the place these retailers accepted over $200 billion in cell cash funds final 12 months.

The platform contains an enterprise administration software program and an Android utility that gives instruments for micro-merchants to run their companies. Its options embody managing prospects, recording inventory ranges and receiving and making funds.

“Retailers can file what money and cell cash transactions they accumulate and their money and cell cash payouts. And thru that preliminary file preserving, now we have an entry level into the enterprise,” stated Gotter, who additionally talked about that Bamba needs to enhance money assortment for retailers primarily finished by way of USSD and M-Pesa pay invoice numbers at point-of-sale. 

“We now have the stock administration elements that tie in with what number of and which items are bought. Then the funds bit finally leading to a degree of sale kind gadgets like Sq. or Yoco that allows you to get a clearer image of your small business and your actions.”

Lack of credit score is a thorn in retailers’ flesh globally; this holds extra true in sub-Sahara Africa, the place the credit score hole for small companies stands at over $300 billion. That is one distinguished space bookkeeping digitization proves its utmost significance for retailers. And despite launching with numerous entry factors into the market, startups on this house converge at that singular level. For Bamba, its resolution, intersecting stock, CRM and funds will permit it to offer retailers with money advances towards their future money circulation.

“These are companies which have beforehand not been lent to as their credit score rating was inadequate to get the suitable loans. However since now we have a fairly correct image of our prospects when it comes to its money and cell cash receivables, we will make correct lending choices to them in a method not finished earlier than,” the CEO said.

Bamba is at present in stealth mode and is but to launch. Gotter stated the five-month-old startup is testing its platform with 30 retailers. Its income will come from two streams: a small cost payment paid by retailers and pursuits from its lending/money advance product.

“We’re very deep within the analysis section and fast iteration cycle to determine the preliminary product we wish to launch at a better scale in 12 markets,” stated the CEO who based Bamba with Martin Schramm in January.

This seed funding is integral to rushing up this means of buying extra customers and scaling the engineering workforce behind the product. Berlin and San Francisco-based 468 Capital led the spherical, whereas Presight Ventures and Jigsaw VC participated alongside angel buyers comparable to Laurin Hainy of FairMoney and Leonard Stiegeler of Pulse.

Ludwig Ensthaler, a associate at 468 Capital, in an announcement, highlighted why his agency backed the Kenyan-based startup. He stated the funding alternatives in enterprise software program centered on African small companies are largely untapped, and Bamba “is nicely positioned with an important product and a stable founder to construct a category-defining firm.”

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