Asset finance company Tugende raises US$3.6m in series A funding

UGANDA – Tugende, a technology-enabled asset finance company, has raised US$3.6 million equity financing in its Series A round of funding.

The investors who took part in the round include San Francisco and Paris-based VC firm, Partech, and Enza Capital.

The investment follows the US$6.3 million raised in November 2020 and led by Toyota Tsusho investment fund Mobility 54 bringing Tugende’s total Series A financing to US$9.9 million.

Founded in Kampala, the capital of Uganda by Michael Wilkerson in 2012, the company provides a technology-based medium for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to own assets that help generate income.

Some of these assets include motorcycle taxis, boat engines, cars, and refrigerators, but also medical and life insurance, training, safety equipment and digital credit profiles and is currently piloting financing for e-mobility assets. 

Since its inception, the firm has raised more than US$20 million from debt partners like Partners Group Impact Investments and the U.S. Development Finance Corporation.

“Tugende combines technology and strong operations to aid millions of professionals to grow their businesses and drive economies forward. We will support it to build up the tech platform, fine-tune the model and expand in new markets”

Tidjane Deme – General Partner, Partech Africa Fund

While primarily based in East Africa, the company wants to tackle the US$331 billion credit gap facing these businesses across Africa and its core product is motorcycle riders in Kenya and Uganda, with a lease-to-own or hire-purchase package.

“Tugende combines technology and strong operations to aid millions of professionals to grow their businesses and drive economies forward. We will support Michael and his team to build up the tech platform, fine-tune the model and expand in new markets,” Tidjane Deme, general partner at the VC firm who co-leads the Partech Africa fund said.

Tugende currently has more than 43,000 across Kenya and Uganda.

Tugende uses asset finance, technology, and a customer-centric model to help informal sector entrepreneurs dramatically increase their economic trajectory.

From financing to value-added services to new opportunities, they are building a long-term ecosystem for MSMEs to grow and thrive with us as their partner.

Tugende is not alone in the business of tech-enabled asset financing in East Africa. In Kenya, M-KOPA is recognized for providing a way for low-income households to procure electronics like smartphones, televisions, and refrigerators. 

Both companies are tapping into a increasing adoption of digital platforms for payments in East Africa and the continent at large.

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