It’s evident, Africa has been braced with the wave of neobank, notably potential markets like Africa’s most populous and economic country Nigeria. A country viewed as a viable market where emerging fintech is doing all they can as they seek to provide cheaper and more personalized banking services, hence, Sparkle scoring $3.1 million in its latest funding round could rather be viewed as a prove for more personalized services.
The founder of the subject startup ‘Uzoma Dozie’ is understood to be an ex-CEO and managing director of Diamond Bank, and is poised to scale operations with the fundraised.
Nigeria viewed as a huge market is understood to have over 100,000 million active bank accounts, yet, issues linger, ranging from serial downtime, poor service delivery, and bad load in addition to other experiences which have left the majority distrust over banking services. However, this presents neobanks with opportunity as they seek to gain the attention of these unsatisfied customers.
Meanwhile, Sparkle like any other neobank in the market is believed to be counting on standard features such as savings, top-ups, requesting or sending funds, and bill payments. While in an attempt to attract customers in a crowded market, features like splitting and reviewing spending breakdowns are also viewed as viable interest for a market strategy, yet, Sparkle is poised to provide lifestyle, financial, business support services to Nigerians. In view of this, Sparkle CEO ‘Uzoma Dozie’ told TechCrunch during a press briefing:
“We’re quite different in a way because instead of separating financial services from lifestyle, we’ve tried to bring them together, especially as we’ve seen that more people are beginning to lead more digitally-led lives”.
“It means that we don’t see our customers from accounts, payments, deposits, or credit perspectives, but from how can we help them do what they want to do at any particular time”.
As the subject startup craves for uniqueness, while providing banking services to businesses and individuals on a single platform, having launched Sparkle Business that target small and medium businesses, which cut across a set of categories, while providing access to inventory and invoicing management, payroll, and employment management services, and tax advice. Paving the way for businesses that can access the subject features with the aid of tax identification number (TIN) and email address. Although, other neobanks in Nigeria like VBank, FairMoney, Carbon, and Kuda offer tailored services to individuals. Sparkle CEO, Dozie also added:
“As a small business, I’m not carrying my bank account on my mobile. I’m carrying my business. So we are bringing everything about your business into one place so that you can do business wherever you are. For individuals, we’re bringing everything into one place so that you can do what you want to do quite easily wherever you are. But the bottom line is that we’re providing you with the information that you need to take spontaneous decisions”.
There is more to Sparkle scoring $3.1 million for a financial round, and this has to do with its unique features that customers could hardly get on other platforms. For instance, Sparkle customers can access their transaction history with a particular beneficiary without needing to browse through a financial statement, schedule payments, and confirm the location where each transaction was made.
Since the platform launched last year, it currently commands 40,000 customers on the individual banking side in addition to 2,000 businesses. And in a bid to ensure customers remain active, the company started charging each customer small fees and plans to charge businesses for most features that will exclude tax-related services.
As regards the seed round, which entails lead investor Leadway Assurance, participant Trium Network including high valued individuals. It comes after the subject company closed a friend and family pre-seed round of $2 million sometime last year.
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