lipa later, a Kenyan tech-led consumer credit platform, is planning to expand into new markets in Africa after raising $12 million in pre-Series A funding.
The equity and debt funding round saw participation from Corris Finance, Lateral Frontiers VC, Greenhouse Capital, SOSV IV LLC, Sayani Investments and Axion Financial Services.
The startup, a buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) company founded in 2018, now plans to enter Tanzania, Ghana and Nigeria and expand into its existing markets, which are Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.
“We are excited to be working with our investors as we look to grow and expand into more markets in Africa. Over the next 12 months, we aim to grow and double our presence in existing markets, even as we move to Africa. open three to five new markets in the U.S.,” said Lipa Later co-founder and CEO Eric Mullick,
Lipa Letter has exclusive partnerships with retailers in these markets, allowing buyers to pay for the products in installments. For example, Lipa Letter’s partnership with French retailer Carrefour (which has a regional presence) allows customers to pay for furniture, electronics and even perishable items in monthly installments.
Customers pay a monthly interest rate (about 2.3% in the case of Carrefour) on the credit extended to them. The startup plans to partner more with merchants in its plan to cover more countries across Africa.
“Lipa Letter is not only transforming the consumer credit landscape across Africa, which to date has been inaccessible to most people, but is also catalysing the future of shopping, e-commerce and payments. They call it truly a product And done in a customer-led way that benefits both merchants and consumers, and has proven to be incredibly scalable across multiple markets,” said Greenhouse Capital Partner Ruby Nimkar.
Lipa Letter’s proprietary credit scoring and machine learning system allows consumers to sign up and receive a credit limit almost instantly. The startup has also built a BNPL API that integrates into the e-commerce platform that enables merchants to sell products directly to consumers and makes it possible for consumers to remit monthly installments for items purchased.
The new funding adds to an undisclosed 2020 investment by Tokyo-headquartered Uncovered Fund, which invests in early and seed stage startups in Africa. Lipa Letter was among five startups that received funding.
Lipa Letter is one of the leading players in Kenya’s BNPL market, where it competes with Aspira, Mitty, Flexpay Technologies and Zulla. According to this 2021 survey about Kenya, the BNPL payments industry in the country has experienced a strong growth due to rapid e-commerce penetration and the effects of the economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The BNPL industry in Kenya is expected to register a CAGR of 30.8% during 2021 to 2028. Gross BNPL trading value is expected to reach $589.5 million in 2028, up from $51.6 million in 2020.
In its bid to transcend Africa, where opportunities abound in the form of e-commerce and alternative credit sources, Lipa Letter has been incorporated into South Africa’s Payflex (which was recently acquired by Australian BNPL Zip) and Pagestnow, and Nigeria. It will face competition from K Paykart and Karbonn. Zero.