Nigerian fintech startup, Pivo, has closed a $2 million seed round that included participation from Precursor Ventures, Vested World, Y Combinator, FoundersX, and Mercy Corp Ventures. Pivo provides financial services – credit, payments, and expense management – to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) vendors within large manufacturing supply chains.
The startup was founded by Nkiru Amadi-Emina and Ijeoma Akwiwu in July 2021, and according to Amadi-Emina, Pivo has disbursed over $3 million through Pivo Capital and transacted more than $4 million through Pivo Business accounts. She also told TechCabal that Pivo currently has 300 active SMEs and 10 ecosystem partners. She explained that ecosystems are larger businesses that have SMEs within their value chains, so Pivo works with them to serve their SMEs.
When asked what criteria the startup considered before approaching investors, Amadi-Emina said, “We were looking to involve investors in our seed round off the back of the following criteria: domain expertise, ability to follow on in subsequent rounds, and ability to provide strategic access within our chosen sector needed to support us as we scale.”
Pivo’s monetisation strategy is based on interest on loans and fees on selected transactions. Pivo currently has two products: Pivo Capital, which offers credit to supply chain SMEs, and Pivo Business, which offers bank accounts and tools like e-invoicing, bulk payments, and bill payments.
Amadi-Emina told TechCabal that there are expansion plans for East Africa in the works for 2023. She also added that the startup will be building and adding new features to existing products, especially around payments, which is a major pain point for supply chain SMEs.
“There will be new product development as well to improve transaction management and payment reconciliation. Cash flow management is one of the biggest challenges you find in supply chains, and while we’re already tackling it with existing products, there’s a lot more we plan to do,” she said.
Speaking on the investment, Daniel Block, investment principal at Mercy Corps Ventures, said, “When we initially invested last year, we believed that the founders’ deep logistics industry expertise and commitment to unattended supply chain SMEs would enable Pivo to rapidly carve out a deep moat in the competitive fintech lending space. As Pivo launches additional products to graduate from a pure fintech lender to a full-fledged financial services platform, we are excited to see the company deliver a full suite of financial services specifically designed for the needs of the unattended supply-chain sector SMEs they serve.”