Africa’s Lulalend, Mawingu, Trade Lenda snag VC money; Synercore, Yellow get debt

 Africa’s Lulalend, Mawingu, Trade Lenda snag VC money; Synercore, Yellow get debt

Cape Town-based digital lender Lula Lend Pty Ltd, which operates as Lulalend and had raised Series A funding three-and-a-half years ago, has secured $35 million in a Series B round led by global impact investor Lightrock.

DEG, Triodos Investment Management and Women’s World Banking also chipped in as new investors along with existing backers IFC and Quona Capital.

DEG committed $4.5 million to Lulalend, The Capital Quest reported last week.

Lulalend started in 2014 as an online MSME lender providing working capital loans to the highly underserved MSME segment in South Africa followed by revolving credit facilities and business cash advances.

The company had snagged $6.5 million in June 2019 as part of the Series A round jointly led by IFC and Quona Capital. It had also received a commitment of $7 million from Blue Earth Capital, a Switzerland-based independent impact investment fund house created by a Partners Group co-founder.


Kenyan internet service provider, Mawingu, which has operations in 15 counties in its home country, has secured $9 million in a Series B round led by InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), which invested $6 million. InfraCo Africa was joined by Mawingu’s institutional investors E3 Capital and FMO, who brought in $1.5 million each.

Led by Farouk Ramji, Mawingu has more than 7,500 active customers. The new round of funding will enable the company to expand to an additional 25 counties in Kenya, focusing on rural markets.

The company rebranded late last year and is aiming to connect 250,000 Kenyans over the next five years.


Moroccan fintech startup Gwala has raised an undisclosed amount via a pre-seed funding round to develop its platform, expand its reach, and hire new talent. The names of the investors were not disclosed.

Founded last year by Mossaab Abaouz, Gwala offers an on-demand payment solution for employees and employers. It enables employees to have instant access to their earned wages once transferred to get better visibility of their finances and grow financial literacy while helping employers to offer financial wellness benefits to attract and retain workers.

Trade Lenda

Nigerian fintech Trade Lenda, which assists small retailers to access finance and connect to distributors and manufacturers, has raised $520,000 from Sovereign Capital, ARM Labs, Expert Dojo besides some angel investors.

The two-year old firm is co-led by Adeshina Adewumi, Shina Arogundade and Oluwatosin Ayodele.


Social impact investor Oikocredit has lent $5 million to Yellow, a South African supplier of pay-as-you-go off-grid solar solutions and appliances. With this loan, Yellow plans to bring access to electricity to an estimated 89,000 underserved households in sub-Saharan Africa.

With Oikocredit’s support, Yellow will be able to give low-income people in Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia both access to clean energy and a path to ownership of off-grid solar products.

Founded by Michael Heyink in 2018, Yellow has sold more than 300,000 energy devices to date.


Oikocredit has also lent $2.6 million (KES 325 million) to Kenyan’s MyCredit, a non-bank financial institution in Nairobi, with over 10,000 customers.

MyCredit has disbursed 15,500 loans to customers across Kenya with a total value of KES 6.08 billion in the last six years. Over that period, MyCredit has opened 15 branches and created 158 jobs.

George Mbira, MyCredit’s CEO said: “The secured funding will support MyCredit’s strategic plan to offer affordable and medium-term financing of up to a maximum of three years to its SME customers who are in trading businesses. Through this partnership, the SMEs will be able to create more job opportunities in the communities within which they operate.”


eWAKA, a Kenya-based sustainable mobility startup, has raised CHF500,000 loan from State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) Start-up Fund for the local production and promotion of its signature electronic bike known as the Shujaa.

Led by Celeste Vogel, Co-founder, Chief Executive Officer & General Counsel, eWAKA is into electric vehicles.  It is looking to expand to other parts of Kenya and East Africa in 2023.


Norfund, the Norwegian Investment Fund for developing countries, is investing ZAR 80 million ($4.7 million) in convertible debt in Synercore Holdings, a South African food ingredient manufacturer, formulator, and distributor to fast-moving consumer goods companies in Africa.

As part of the transaction, Synercore will acquire two other companies, Impilo and Sizwe. Impilo supplies soy flour to predominantly the baking, confectionary, and culinary industries. Sizwe was established to extrude, roast, steam cook, pack and blend any type of grains in the baking, cereal, dairy and meat industries, both from GM or non-GM source.

“Through these acquisitions, we will expand capacity and improve efficiencies as far as blending and manufacturing is concerned. It will allow Synercore to backwards integrate to improve supply chain sustainability, and further diversify and expand on our service offering”, said Tertius Cilliers, CEO of Synercore.


Paris-based startup ShareID, which has operations in Morocco, has raised a €2 million seed round, led by Newfund, along with The 212Founders program of CDG Invest, the investment branch of the CDG Group.

ShareID seeks to disrupt the digital identity market with a next-generation multi-factor authentication solution that uses AI and Machine Learning to detect the authenticity of government-issued IDs in the digital world and eliminates identity theft, fraud, and data leaks in real time.

Cofounded by Sara Sebti and Sawsen Rezig, the funding will help it deploy its solution in the US and develop its AI skills centre in Morocco.

Vivek Sinha

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