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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

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TLcom Capital has invested $1 million pre-seed fundraise in Nigerian fintech platform, Okra to strengthen the latter’s push to build infrastructure for Africa’s next wave of fintech innovation.

Okra is expected to use the new investment to scale its team and operations, as it caters to its growing client base.

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Established in January 2020, the fintech firm’s “super-connector” creates a secure portal and process to exchange real-time financial information between customers, applications and banks. At the moment, African developers and organisations do not have access to real-time banking data, creating large hurdles during the onboarding and verification of customers.

The founding team is proud to boast that Okra is the first in Africa to bridge this gap, delivering a new layer of transparency between organisations and users in the lending, personal & corporate finance and real estate sectors.

READ MORE: 54gene raises $15 million to boost African genetic code, as venture capital hits $19.5 million

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With adequate support from the founding team, Fara Ashiru Jituboh and David Peterside, Okra’s technical expertise has already seen them connect with all of Nigeria’s commercial banks. Okra has the likes of Branch, AIICO Insurance PLC, Travelstart, Bamboo, Renmoney and Swipe (YC) amongst others on its clientele list.

Chief Executive Officer, Jituboh, said, “Our thesis is simple — financial innovation cannot exist without the proper infrastructure, which is data. Essentially, how far the African fintech sector can grow is intrinsically tied to the success of infrastructure like Okra and with our core market in Nigeria, we’re opening the door to another level of innovation in Africa’s largest market.

“There are approximately 125mn banks accounts in Nigeria alone — but over the course of the next two years, we will see that figure rise exponentially, which presents huge opportunities for growth. Our role within this is to deliver ease, speed and transparency to key players within the fintech space so they can get back to driving our continent forward.”

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Partner at TLcom, Andreata Muforo, explained that his company is always on the lookout for startups with the potential for high value-generation and Okra’s technology provides the foundation for new fintech solutions in Africa for years to come.

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“Equally, it was important for us to know that their leadership had the entrepreneur-led focus, which is crucial for execution. Fara’s background was vital here. She’s an expert in over 20 programming languages, worked with multiple Fortune 500 companies and is a great example of why we’re committed to investing in more female founders. She leads by example and we have seen her and David build a really exciting business, in a little under a year, we’re excited to help them grow further.”

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Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Okra, Peterside, said, “When we started Okra last year, our priority was to help African fintech and banks build the best in class technology and solve problems for their customers. This investment marks the next chapter of this mission.

“For too long, simple financial tasks like budgeting, internal reconciliations and credit assessments have been additional stressors for businesses and we’re filling a long-standing gap in the market. Our aim is to make these processes as seamless and pain-free for our clients so they can focus on their core services.”

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