Nigerian fintech startup, Kippa announced that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has granted it a Super-Agent Banking license, thereby giving the company the leverage to foster its ambition to make it easy for anyone to start and run profitable small businesses in Africa.
A Super-Agent, a corporately licensed entity that is empowered to conduct certain banking activities within the community such as cash deposit and withdrawal, bills payment (utilities, taxes, tenement rates, subscription etc.), cash disbursement and cash repayment of loans, etc, must be licensed by the Nigerian regulator who created this licence to allow more entities that aren’t financial institutions provide services that promote financial inclusion.
Kippa, which was launched June last year began as a finance management app that allows small business owners keep track of their daily income and expense transactions, create invoices and receipts, manage inventory and generally monitor how their businesses perform over time.
The company had in November 2021 raised a whopping $3.2 million in pre-seed funding, with the round led by Berlin-based VC Target Global. Other VCs that participated include Entrée Capital, Alter Global and Rally Cap Ventures. Babs Ogundeyi (Kuda CEO), Kyane Kassiri, Sriram Krishnan (an investor in Khatabook), Raffael Johnen (Auxmoney CEO) and other angel investors invested alongside.
The startup, which as at November 2021 has over 130,000 active businesses who had processed $130 million, revealed that it now has over 500,000 registered merchants within its network, noting that it has recorded an annualised transaction value of over $3 billion.
Kippa’s CEO and co-founder Kennedy Ekezie described the acquisition of this license as a logical next step for the fintech startup in an interview with TechCabal, said:
“What this license does is that it allows us to truly empower all our customers with tools, and infrastructure to not just accept payments, but to start to offer financial services to their end customers,” Ekezie said. “It affords us the opportunity to implement integration with the national switches and allows us to provide business-to-business and platform and services to other fintechs.”
Kippa’s having the license portends that it is one step closer to becoming a neobank, following in the footsteps pfmany African fintech startups such as Fairmoney, Eversend and Branch have evolved to become one.
But CEO Ekezie in the call with TechCabal opined that Kippa isn’t thinking of the neobank move yet.
“We definitely would not use the word neobank to describe what we’re trying to do,” Ekezie said. “What businesses want is not a new place to put their money, from my experience. Businesses want opportunities, tools, and finances to grow sustainably and in a manner that’s profitable. With that in mind, we’re trying to continue to provide them solutions to enable them to do that.”
The startup serves merchants across Nigeria’s 36 states with Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano, the top five states where its merchants presence are felt.