GHANA – OZÉ, a fintech startup focused on helping African small businesses grow by digitizing their operations and providing them with access to affordable capital, has raised US$700k Seed Round to expand out of Ghana.

Investors in this round include Anorak Ventures and Matuca Sarl, and angel groups like Nigeria’s Rising Tide Africa joined existing investors Ingressive Capital and MEST.

OZÉ will use the funding to grow its team, expand to Nigeria, and promote the newly launched iOS version of its business app.

“I couldn’t be more excited about what’s next for OZÉ,” said the startup’s co-founder and chief operating officer (COO) Dave Emnett. “We’re integrating with Paystack and other PSPs to allow our SMEs to accept and send payments through the app and partnering with more financial institutions to expand on the success of OZÉ’s approach to lending.”

Launched in beta in 2018, OZÉ is a mobile app that helps small businesses record their sales, expenses, payables, and receivables. The platform then aggregates that data to provide context specific recommendations and reports.

Using this data and machine learning, the startup predicts a business’ credit risk and provides it with affordable capital from its banking partners. OZÉ has over 25,000 registered users, with paying subscribers having recorded more than 250,000 transactions with a value of more than US$50 million via the app so far.

“The OZÉ Flywheel makes profitable lending to MSMEs possible for banks,” says Co-founder & CEO, Meghan McCormick.

“Using OZÉ already screens for the type of entrepreneurs banks should want to lend to and as entrepreneurs keep using OZÉ they can access more funds at a lower risk to the bank.”

In 2020, OZÉ piloted a small loan portfolio, with no defaults and a projected annual 43 per cent return on investment.

In Ghana and other Subsaharan African countries, most businesses have no access to capital. The MSME credit gap in subSaharan Africa is at US$331 billion – a market OZE plans to exploit.

OZE tries to solve the problem where people with no formal education yet keep records on paper with no credit history, collateral, or operations.

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