YC Backed fintech startup, Mono, raises $2million seed funding

YC Backed fintech startup, Mono, raises $2million seed funding

Mono, a YC backed fintech startup working to improve financial inclusion and connectivity in Africa has raised $2million in seed funding.

The company which says it is building the Plaid for Africa had earlier raised $500,000 in pre-seed funding last September, before bagging $125,000 from YC in February this year. With this latest raise, Mono’s total investment has increased to $2.625 million.

The investors in this round include Entrée Capital (one of the investors in Kuda’s seed round), Kuda co-founder and CEO Babs Ogundeyi; Gbenga Oyebode, partner at TCVP; and Eric Idiahi, co-founder and partner at Verod Capital. New York but Africa-based VC Lateral Capital also invested after taking part in Mono’s pre-seed.

Launched by Abdul Hassan and Prakhar Singh in August 2020, the company aggregates varying financial data in a single API for companies and third-party developers.

Mono allows them to retrieve information like account statements, real-time balance, historical transactions, income, expense, and account owner identification with users’ consent.

In a region where 66% of the population is either unbanked or underbanked, Mono’s mission is to improve financial inclusion and connectivity on the continent through open finance. The notion of open finance is predicated on the idea that; access to a financial ecosystem via open APIs and new routes to move money, access financial information, and make borrowing decisions reduces the barriers and costs of entry for the underbanked.

Since Mono got accepted into YC early this year, the startup claims it has connected over 100,000 financial accounts for its partners and analyzed over 66 million financial transactions so far.

In addition, it has secured a partnership with companies like Carbon, Aella Credit, Credpal, Renmoney, Autochek, and Inflow Finance to help access customer’s bank account for bank statements, identity data, and balances.

In less than a year, the company has attained incredible success, but the startup does not just see itself as just an API Fintech startup, the CEO says the company intends to be a comprehensive data company.

Cofounder of Mono, Abdul Hassan explained that the company is taking an approach of building one product at a time until it can fully diversify from financial data offerings, including connecting with payment gateways (Paystack and Flutterwave) and other fintech like wealth management startups Piggyvest and Cowrywise.

“The way I see it, our market is not that big. Compare the payments market now with 2016, when Paystack and Flutterwave just started. The payments space in 2016 was very small and the number of people using cards online was very small,”

“When you’re able to connect to all the systems, a lot of use cases will come up. The first step is how can we connect to all available data and open it up for businesses and developers,” the CEO said.

“…That’s why our focus isn’t only on open banking but data. We’re thinking of how we can power the internet economy with data that isn’t necessarily financial data. For instance, think about open data for telcos. Imagine where you can move your data from one telco to another instead of getting a new SIM card and making a fresh registration. That’s where I see the market going, at least for us at Mono.”

Commenting on the investment, Avil Eyal, managing partner and co-founder of Entrée Capital said:

“We are very excited to be working with Abdul, Prakhar, and the entire Mono team as they continue to build out the rails for African banking to enable the delivery of financial services to hundreds of millions of people across the African continent.”

The startup plans to use this new funding to boost its current financial and identity data offerings and launch new products for other business verticals. Mono also plans to set up its presence in Ghana and Kenya as soon as possible. It is already gearing up to launch in Ghana next month, carrying along with it some of its customers in Nigeria and new ones in Ghana. Some of its partners include GTBank, Fidelity Bank, the Mobile Money service arm of MTN Ghana, amongst others.

Monos latest raise is coming after other African API fintech startups such as Okra and Stitch raised a significant amount in investments this year.