Nigerian fintech startup Mines raises US$13m Series A round

US-based fintech Mines, founded by a Nigerian team to build digital credit products for underserved populations, has raised $13-million in a Series-A round.

The round was led by The Rise Fund, a global fund managed by TPG Growth. Also participating are Velocity CapitalWestern Technology InvestmentsFirst Ally CapitalX/Seed CapitalNYCA PartnersPersistent CapitalSingularity InvestmentsTrans Sahara Investments and the Bank of Industry.

Founded in 2014, Mines provides a Credit-as-a-Service digital platform that enables institutions in emerging markets to offer credit products to their customers, with no smartphones required. Leveraging their own data sets, domestic institutions are able to serve loans to customers ignored by available credit systems and open up entirely new revenue opportunities.

By mining high-volume data like phone records, bank records, and payment transactions in real-time, the startup is able to  instantly assess credit risk in markets that lack robust credit bureau infrastructure.

The startup then integrates its risk models with identity, origination, payments, loan lifecycle management, and customer service to form a holistic platform.

The net result is a seamless user experience where partners’ customers can apply for and receive a loan in less than 60 seconds or make instant purchases with virtual or physical credit cards.

The company’s proprietary technology has been used by over one million customers in Nigeria since it was launched last year. Mines is now the leading provider of consumer credit in the country, counting mobile operators 9mobile and Airtel, payment processors Interswitch and NIBSS, plus several banks, amongst its partners.

Mines plans to use the investment for talent acquisition, continued growth in Africa, and expansion to South America and South-East Asia.

“There are more than three billion adults globally without access to credit. Our vision is that every one of them will have instant access to credit in the next 10 years,” said Mines chief executive officer (CEO) Ekechi Nwokah.

“We believe the best way to realise this vision is to partner with banks, retailers and mobile operators and power digital credit products tailored to their markets so they can create the customers of tomorrow, today.”

The startup claims to have taken Silicon Valley technology and built it into a product that is robust enough for emerging markets like Nigeria.

“We can extend credit to all types of customers, including customers without smartphones or even bank accounts as these are the people who need credit the most,” said chief scientist Kunle Olukotun.

As part of the financing, Yemi Lalude from TPG Growth and Willem Willemstein from Velocity Capital have joined Mines’ board of directors.

“Mines combines world-class artificial intelligence and extensive use of data with a strong focus on local partnerships to build financial inclusion. We are excited to partner with them to drive financial access across the world,” said Lalude.

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