Nigeria: Brass to tackle SMEs financial gap with $1.7 million funding
Brass secures $1.7 million funding round to scale its offerings for local entrepreneurs, traders and fast-growing businesses
One year after launch, Brass, a Nigerian fintech whose focus is on SMEs have closed a $1.7 million Series A round. Brass plans to scale its current offerings and expand to other countries.
The round featured investors like Ventures platform, Flutterwave CEO Olugbenga "GB" Agboola, Paystack co-founder Ezra Olubi, Hustle Fund, Acuity Ventures and Uncovered Fund.
Speaking on the latest investment, Elizabeth Yin, general partner at Hustle Fund, said, "We are excited to back Sola and the Brass team, who are providing critical financial technology to Africa's businesses, starting with Nigeria's approximately 41.5 million businesses."
Competition in this space - banks for SMEs, are heating up nicely. If you are familiar with this space, you would have come across names like Carbon Prospa and Sparkle that recently closed a Series A round.
Given the presence of these digital banks, one is tempted to ask how Brass plans to differentiate itself in this space even if the financial needs of several SMEs are unmet. According to the International small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in developing countries have an unmet financing need of $5.2 trillion every year.
Akindolu, Brass CEO, have an answer to this question.
According to him, "There are many ways money can get out of the business, be it payroll, vendor payment, invoicing. We want to support businesses’ cash flow; we want to support them in those areas to make sure that money keeps running and they can keep growing their business. So that’s, for the most part, what we’re doing with Brass today: financial operations and cash flow support.”
Founded by Sola Akindolu and Emmanuel Okeke, Brass offers a suite of products — credit and payment services, payroll and expense management, API support, cash-flow analytics, team and contact management, other core business services such as POS, debit and credit cards — all wrapped around a business bank account.
Brass numbers are pretty impressive given its launch in July 2020. The company claims to have over 5,000 customers ranging from schools and malls to restaurants and fintechs such as Eden and Mono, which use its complete banking solution. Brass also claims to have disbursed more than $2 million in credit via its credit solutions - Brass Capital.
To quote Tochukwu Egesi, "a newbie without a stash of cash might not survive when quizzed if he felt that the digital payment space in Nigeria is crowded." The digital banking space is not different. It would be interesting to see how things play out for Brass in a space where capital is very crucial to the survival of a firm.