Ghanaian startup providing digital recordkeeping tools with embedded finance products for small and medium scale businesses, OZÉ, has raised $3 million in pre-series A funding round.
The funding round was led by European venture capital firm Speedinvest, which invests in pre-seed, seed, and early-stage tech startups. Also participating in the funding round were Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund, Savannah Capital, and other unnamed angel investors. The latest investment comes after securing $700,000 in seed funding last year.
Founded in 2018 by CEO Meghan McCormick and chief operating officer, Dave Emnett, OZÉ proffers solutions to challenges faced by small businesses, solving financial and recordkeeping problems by providing needed tools for the businesses. Digitalizing traditional pen and paper model of operation, and offering financial products to help build a better online presence.
Currently operational in Ghana and Nigeria, the platform provides unique digital services to individual businesses, that are easily accessible through a smart device.
OZÉ stands out from other digital recordkeeping platforms as it helps businesses collect and categorize data from sales, expenses, payables, receivables, and customer data. The data is then examined to provide businesses with support such as recommendations, and reports through daily business rounds, monthly business seminars, and access to an on-demand business coach.
It integrates recordkeeping, with generating performance and behavioral data for business owners using the platform. This can be used to predict possible credit risks and also create alternative credit scores.
OZÉ also partners with financial institutions such as banks and other fintech to provide loans for businesses. McCormick comments that credit is primarily provided to customers who are active on the platform for at least 30 days, offering an average loan of $5,000 while paying up to 36% APR. Using the businesses’ cash-based performance data, the platform offers better loans after accessing better psychological insights into recorded transactions.
The platform positions as the coach, partner, and business advisor ensure that these small businesses have access to a larger community of business owners to learn, grow and engage with one another.
It launched a payment integration to allow businesses to collect payments, with higher credit limits and lower interest rates on the platform. Businesses in Ghana can accept payments through mobile money or card, while businesses in Nigeria can use bank transfers or cards.
OZÉ has a client base of 125,000 businesses in Ghana and Nigeria and aims to expand to the West African region. The number of active users grew by 1,200% last year, with a 200% increase in the number of loans granted between the third and fourth quarters of 2021. The platform also claims that 97% of its users run growing or profitable businesses, or both.
The next step for the startup would be to build its team, acquire more customers, strengthen its presence in Ghana and Nigeria, and expand into new African markets.