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Pivo, a Nigerian fintech startup, raises $2m to build new products and expand to East Africa

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Nigerian fintech startup, Pivo, has completed its seed funding round, raising $2 million, the startup said.

Pivo, which had raised $550,000 in its pre-seed funding earlier this year, raised the seed funds from investment partners that include Precursor Ventures, Vested World, Y Combinator, FoundersX, and Mercy Corp Ventures.

With the newly raised funds, Pivo plans to push its expansion out of Lagos, Nigeria – where it currently operates – and explore East African markets. The startup also plans to add new features to existing products, especially around payments, which it believes is a major pain point for supply chain SMEs.

“After our pre-seed raise of US$550,000 early in Q1 of this year, we launched a new product, Pivo Business, with features that supply chain SMEs can use to achieve better cash flow. […] The transaction volume of Pivo Business accounts grew by over 400 per cent between April and September. With this funding, we intend to build on existing products and develop solutions for supply chain anchors,” co-founder, Nkiru Amadi-Emina, said.

Pivo was founded in 2021 by Ijeoma Akwiwu and Nkiru Amadi-Emina, with the public beta launched in September of the same year. The startup provides financial services — credit, payments and expense management — to SME vendors within large manufacturing supply chains.

Prior to founding Pivo, Amadi-Emina had garnered experience in the manufacturing and logistics industry, providing them with valuable insights. She has working experience with e-logistics company, Kobo360, where she witnessed liquidity problems that existed at both ends of the logistics supply chain. Amadi-Emina noticed that truckers need cash advances from logistics companies to move cargo; and how the logistics companies also require manufacturers to pay on time for distributing cargo to truckers. This moulded Pivo’s journey to provide financial services to truckers, and also provide financial succour for logistics companies to sort upfront costs.

“In most cases, we found out that managing cash flow was the primary issue for these businesses — it was either nonexistent or just paper-based. A lot of the payments made were made with cash and we thought to build a digital bank that provides financial services geared towards solving these various problems for SME vendors that operate within large manufacturing supply chains, starting first and foremost with the logistics providers, and then gradually moving to the supplier pockets and at the tail end of things,” Amadi-Emina said in an interview with TechCrunch.

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.”

Pivo claims it currently has 300 active SMEs and 10 ecosystem partners, and has disbursed over $3 million through Pivo Capital; and over $4 million through its business accounts.

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