UGANDA – XENO, an online investment advisory startup, has raised a US$150,000 from Nordic Impact Funds in a pre-seed funding round to power its continued growth. 

Launched in 2017, XENO uses artificial intelligence (AI) that assists clients to plan, save, and invest their money in a diversified investment portfolio. Total investment secured so far to US$430,000 since the company’s inception. 

Founded in 2017, the startup’s platform takes into account a user’s personal circumstances, financial goals and risk tolerance to automatically devise a recommended investment portfolio, and claims its risk profiling and portfolio-compiling algorithm is one of the first of its kind in Africa. 

Aéko Ongodia, the startup’s founder and chief executive officer (CEO), said the funding will be used for aggressive marketing and sales efforts to rapidly scale up customer acquisition in Uganda. 

“The new equity investment despite the COVID-19 pandemic is major vote of confidence in our operation. More than anything, the pandemic has shown the importance of planning, saving, and investing for emergencies and other financial goals,” he said. 

“XENO is the best positioned company to scale up the provision of professional investment guidance to the average person to help them to guard against sudden loss of income. We have continued to grow even during these roughs and that is testament to a solid value proposition to our customers.” 

XENO also recently partnered MTN Uganda to make professional investment advice and management available to its subscribers looking to invest as little for as little as 10,000 Ugandan shillings (US$3.70) 

The firm invests client funds through four-unit trust funds – XENO Uganda Money Market Fund, XENO Uganda Bond Fund, XENO Uganda Domestic Equity Fund, and XENO Uganda Regional Equity Fund – in partnership with KCB Bank Uganda as trustees and Stanbic Bank Uganda as custodian. 

Ongodia has a PhD in Mathematics from New York and served previously as a fixed income portfolio manager at the state’s National Social Security Fund. 

As of 2019, Xeno had over 1200 customers, 65% of whom are women and is already managing billions of Ugandan shillings in assets.