Fintech companies have taken the forefront of investments reception in Africa. It is estimated that in 153 deals, about $1.6 billion worth of investment was made on fintech startups in 2021 alone. This doubles the amount of investment raised in the financial technology sector in the preceding year, with a 50% increase in the number of deal.
Fintech companies continue to push boundaries with the services they render. A number of African companies in the financial technology sector do a lot of things except issuing debit cards to their users: reason being the rarity of startups that offer card issuing API to facilitate such technology.
Sudo Africa, a Nigerian-based fintech startup, took it upon itself to solve the problems Fintech startups encounter when issuing cards. The startup does this by providing card-issuing API for developers, and businesses in Nigeria.
To better position itself to better serve, Sudo Africa has concluded its pre-seed funding round, raising $3.5 million from a number of investors.
The pre-seed funding round was led by San Francisco-based Global Founders Capital (GFC). Other investors that participated in the round include Picus Capital, LoftyInc Capital, Rallycap Ventures, Kepple Africa, Berrywood Capital, ZedCrest and Suya Ventures.
Further participations in the round came from investors and fintech gurus like Olugbenga ‘GB’ Agboola of Flutterwave, Ham Serunjogi of Chipper Cash, and Odun Eweniyi of Piggyvest.
Sudo Africa was founded in 2020 by the duo of Aminu Bakori and Kabir Shittu. The idea for the startup was born out of an experience the founders got when they tried issuing cards at a previous startup.
Recounting the experience, Chief Executive Office (CEO) Bakori said:
“At one point we wanted to issue cards, and we partnered with one of the local banks in Nigeria. They had to print up to 1,000 cards, but it took a lot of time, and none of them worked because the bank couldn’t provide APIs for us to manage the cards, or even control the use of those cards. That was the first time we came around and thought about how to deal cards.”
Sudo Africa’s tech provides an enablement for any small business to start issuing cards to its customers, and by extension, easing the difficulties that might be encountered by customers when making online transactions.
The startup, which is seated in Nigeria’s Kaduna state, prides itself of issuing cards in a matter of days – against mainstream banks that take up to weeks and months to issue cards.
With the use of the API architecture laid down by Sudo Africa, as well as the startup’s partnership with licensed card issuing companies, fintech merchants are able to issue both physical and virtual cards to their customers.
The startup also created an enablement for businesses to control and program cards to their specifications; build their features, and securely integrate with other services.
“This is beyond just creating a prepaid card, funding that card and then allowing the customer to spend where he wants to. So, all of these controls that we’ve set up on the card: like the spending controls where you can set how much can be expended, where it can be expended, and when; put the company in the front line and say, ‘hey, these are all the transaction details and spending controls, but still, do you want to go ahead and approve this transaction?’ This opens up a flow of opportunities for the fintechs and companies that use our platform,” CEO, Bakori explains.
Sudo Africa currently issue virtual and physical cards only in Nigeria. However, with the funds raised, the startup is gearing up towards expansion into emerging markets in Africa.
“Our concern right now is to expand into other African countries. So we’re looking at before the end of this year, we’ll probably be in three or four more African countries,” COO, Shittu said.