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Nigerian API fintech, Mono, raises $500k pre-seed, wants to build Plaid for Africa

Ola Olaoluwa
Ola Olaoluwa

Nigerian API fintech startup, Mono, has announced its pre-seed funding of $500,000.

Launched in August 2020, Mono enables companies and developers to access financial accounts for historical and real-time transactions, balances, bank statements, credits, and spending patterns of a customer.

In partnership with payment gateways in Nigeria like Flutterwave, Mono also has the capabilities to initiate direct debit payments and recurring debits on customers’ accounts.

The startup was founded by Abdulhamid Hassan, ex-Product Manager, Paystack and Prakhar Singh, who previously founded Transferpay.ng.

After leaving his previous startup in July, Hassan felt he needed to try new things. During his break on weekends he would play around with software and at some point, he and Singh set out to build a mobile application that could aggregate customers’ financial accounts from different Nigerian banks.

But to achieve this, they needed to use an API and according to Hassan, none matched their taste.

“We couldn’t find an API that could enable us to do what we wanted. Something that was real-time and very stable,” the CEO says.

The pair decided to build the API infrastructure and then proceeded to build the application.

However, it didn’t take off as intended because when they deployed the application and began marketing, they noticed that customers didn’t want it; they wanted the API.

Mono founders, L-R: Abdulhamid Hassan (CEO), Prakhar Singh (CTO).

“People were reaching out about the API not the application, so that’s what we decided to focus on. That was the light bulb moment for us.”

This opportunity turned the tech entrepreneurs’ side gig into a startup and last month, they launched their beta version.

With this, companies can generate a link from their Mono dashboard to share with their customers. When they click on the link, Mono immediately connects their financial accounts in real-time and shares the data with the company.

A testament to its capabilities, Mono has signed on customers that cut across health and lending. Some of them include Carbon, OnePipe, Swipe, Anyi Health, Flutterwave, and dozens of developers.

So asides using the API to verify account details, get bank statements and transactions, and perform direct debits, these businesses and developers can do KYC, credit checks, and in general, make onboarding smoother for their customers.

Initially, these clients were charged as much as $200 per month for 10k API calls on all endpoints. But now, Mono uses a pay-as-you-use pricing model where clients are charged $0.05 (₦19) per API call.

Growing and scaling with pre-seed investment

It is impressive that Mono, a two-month-old Nigerian startup, already has half a million dollars in the bank. Investors who have taken a bet on the startup in this round include VCs like Lateral Capital, Ventures Platform, Golden Palm Investments, and Rally Capital.

Similarly, angel investors like Idris Bello and Olumide Soyombo, among others, got a piece of Mono’s pie too.

Financial inclusion

Ola Olaoluwa

Writer | Economist | Actor | Fashion Entrepreneur