Fintech Churpy raises US$1m seed round for its expansion plan

KENYA – Churpy, a fintech offering an integrated receivables management product, has announced a US$1 million seed round led by Unicorn Growth Capital.

Also participating were Antler East Africa, Nairobi’s business angel network and a group of Rally Cap LPs, including senior executives from Stripe.

The funds will be used to support expansion to Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa. They later plan to grow across Africa.

Churpy developed a SaaS-based payment and invoice reconciliation product. It targets the many local companies that complete these processes manually.

Its API connects them to banks with a significant local presence including Citibank, Sidian, Stanbic and NCBA. That gives clients real-time access to data to help them address incoming invoices through their ERP systems.

The company was founded by CEO John Kiptum and Kennedy Mukuna, who worked at the World Bank and Citibank. The duo was recently joined by James Kanyangi, who brings a background in payments, AI and robotics.

“It is clear that B2B payment operations are significantly under-penetrated and ripe for modernization and disruption globally. We are excited to partner with the Churpy team as the first mover in the market,” Unicorn Growth Capital founding partner and CEO Barbara Iyayi said.

“Churpy is the only available end-to-end platform that provides accounts receivable automation, an invoice marketplace and reconciliation with integrated B2B payments specific to its markets.

“They are well-positioned to be a critical partner to businesses and lenders in Africa and can effectively address the significant credit gap faced by SMEs for supplier finance and working capital.”

SMEs financing

Churpy is running a pilot program in partnership with some Kenyan businesses. Those companies are testing an enhanced dashboard.

They are also developing a working capital financing product for SMEs that addresses a local financing gap that impacts smaller companies’ abilities to work with larger firms that can help them grow.

The coming offering will facilitate quicker payment following delivery for a 0.5% origination fee. It recently received a boost when Trade Development Bank provided US$15 million to Churpy to lend to SMEs through its banking partners.

“SMEs have a huge financing gap. They are the suppliers to these big companies and need capital to keep taking raw materials to their other clients,” said Mukuna, also the startup’s head of product.

“Usually, they need collateral to access loans from banks and wait for approval to access capital to keep their business going. What we are doing is ensuring that they get paid not long after they deliver goods to partner enterprises for a 0.5% origination fee. Once their invoice matures, we get paid.”

The startup has partnered with a number of banks to roll out the service as part of its strategy of unlocking other services around accounts reconciliation.

To begin extending financing to SMEs, Trade Development Bank has made available US$15 million to Churpy (to be disbursed through its banking partners) for onward lending.

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