As part of efforts aimed at deepening operations and expanding its digital banking services across the continent, Appzone, a Nigeria-based company that builds technology for banks, has raised $10m in a Series A round. The funding was led by CardinalStone, an investment banking firm in Nigeria. V8 Capital, Lateral Investment Partners, Constant Capital, and Itanna Capital Ventures also participated, the company said.
Appzone becomes the second Nigerian fintech to announce a Series A this year after Kuda, the digital banking provider. Bankly and Curacel have raised seed-stage rounds as well, and of course Flutterwave’s $170m Series B – all setting the tone for what could be another great year for Nigerian fintech.
Founded in 2008 by Obi Emetarom who is also the CEO with the objective of building software solutions for banks, it took three years for them to launch their first product – a Digital Core Banking application for microfinance institutions. The company has grown in leaps over the last decade.
In 2012, they launched a banking system to facilitate branchless banking for Diamond bank, a rare feat at the time. At this time, Appzone reported an Average Rate of Return (ARR) of 5% of total revenue (ARR is a useful metric for companies and their investors to assess how well a business is performing on the path to profitability).
Four years later, they began providing internet and mobile banking services to Providus bank, followed by a system to help Guaranty Trust Bank issue cards instantly to customers. The company’s ARR was at 76% by this time, receiving a Payment Solution Service Provider (PSSP) license from the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2018.
With this funding A, Appzone plans to build on the success and experience garnered so far to become a pan-African fintech. For CEO Emetarom, it is time for the company to emerge from stealth mode and take a place among the class of innovators defining fintech on the continent.
“We are now looking to hire from Africa’s top 1% to grow our team of elite talent who have proven themselves to be true African builders; the brightest senior software engineers and domain experts, doing the incredibly hard work of building the backbone and next generation infrastructure for digital financial services at a level beyond world-class,” Emetarom said in a statement.
Appzone’s mission, according to Emetarom, is “to make our financial sector the most innovative and technologically advanced on the globe through solutions built for Africa by Africans.”
That would mean gaining more ground in the African countries where it currently operates – Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Senegal and Guinea – and pushing into new territories.