SOUTH AFRICA – Standard Bank, one of Africa’s largest financial institutions has acquired a strategic stake in Nomanini, the pioneering fintech platform for the informal retail ecosystem.

The financial institution had taken the leading role in the funding round that enabled Nomanini to raise US$4 million. The funding round was completed by Goodwell Investments, an Amsterdam-based investment firm focused on fintech and financial inclusion.

Standard Bank’s strategic stake will give the bank the ability to use Nomanini’s platform to unearth previously ‘invisible’ data on the informal retail economy.

Standard’s strategic investment in Nomanini comes at a time when it plans to offer digital banking services to informal merchants across 14 African countries.

The bank’s digital platform will give customers the convenience of accessing credit and savings services without having to set foot in a bank branch or leave their points of sale.

To actualize this plan, Standard Bank intends to leverage on Nomanini’s data analytics technology to accurately assess the credit worthiness of micro-merchants. Those who are eligible will for the first time have access to working capital loans.

Increased access to funding will enable informal business to boost ongoing trade as merchants will have an ability to expand their businesses and provide more goods and services to the customers.

“In Nomanini, we’ve found a partner uniquely placed to help micro-merchants in Africa thrive, not just survive,” said Adrian Vermooten, Head of Digital in Africa Regions, Standard Bank

The launch of the new app will enable Standard Bank to boost access to financial products and services, and, at the same time, expand its customer base while addressing the business needs of Africa’s informal retail merchants.

“Our partnership and investment in Nomanini has helped us uncover simple, scalable opportunities while granting new and existing customers access to financial services for the first time,” added Vermooten.

“Previously, this type of information was unavailable to us but now our merchant customers can access banking services wherever they are and whenever it suits them.”

Founder & CEO of Nomanini, Vahid Monadjem, said that the fintech firm’s partnership with Standard Bank adds merchant financing to its existing service offering and provides the opportunity to scale into new markets.

Monadjem also revealed that the company plans to use the additional investment to expand its portfolio of financial services to offer remittances, insurance and other products in the future.