FairMoney, a digital bank based in Lagos and headquartered in Paris, is in discussions to acquire Umba, a credit-led digital bank providing payroll and financial services to customers in Nigeria and Kenya, in a $20 million all-stock deal, sources tell TechCrunch. Umba, founded by Tiernan Kennedy and Barry O’Mahony in San Francisco in 2018, was launched as a credit-led digital bank targeting emerging markets. To date, the digital bank has secured around $20 million in funding, per PitchBook data. FairMoney could likely be more interested in Umba’s microfinance license, obtained in 2022 through acquiring a majority shareholding in Daraja Microfinance Bank. For FairMoney, acquiring Umba could streamline entry into Kenya, bypassing the lengthy licensing process that took Umba three years.
Shamba Pride has since 2016 worked to enhance last-mile distribution for farm inputs and tackle price exploitation and quality issues for farmers through its merchant network dubbed digishops. The agtech has, so far, built a network of merchants (agro-dealers) extending across 24 counties in Kenya, which represents just over half of the country. The new funding, which includes $1.7 million equity, follows $1.1 million capital raised in 2021 from SAV and Gray Matters Capital. “Agriculture distribution in rural communities is heavily controlled by agro-dealers who decide how farmers access inputs, services and training. Shamba Pride sources inventory from partners such as French multinational Elephant Verve that supplies it with “climate-smart” farm inputs, which is part of the agtech’s strategy to build resilience for small-holder farmers.