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News and resources on retail banking, consumer finance and reinventing customer experience in finance.

Nigerian Open Banking startup Mono raises $15 million

Source: Mono

Prakhar and I started working on Mono as a side project to power another side project (Muney) we were building, to fix the issue of managing multiple bank accounts for young adults in Nigeria.

We wanted to build an app that could manage all our financial accounts in one place, but we couldn't find an infrastructure to support our use case and Plaid wasn't available in Africa, so we decided to build the Plaid for Africa, ourselves.

One year later, I’m proud to announce that we’ve raised a $15M Series A funding round, led by Tiger Global — with participation from Target Global, General catalyst, and SBI Investments. Our existing investors, Entrée, Acuity, Ingressive, Lateral Capital, and GPIC also participated. This raise brings Mono’s total outside funding to $17.6M.

Open Banking and Finance: The transformational layer for the next generation of digital businesses in Africa.

Generally, open banking has been about giving third parties access to retail banking data, but our goal at Mono is to take the notion of open banking a step further; by giving consumers the ability to grant access to all of their digital accounts across banking (GTBank, Kuda), offline channels (e.g Paga, Kudi), and traditional entities (e.g pension, telco, insurance), etc
The rise of online commerce.

What began with improvements at the payment processing level — led by Interswitch, Flutterwave, and Paystack — precipitated the rise of eCommerce and digital commerce. According to recent data, the monthly value of e-payment transactions in Nigeria amounted to almost 100 trillion Naira in June 2020, and the trend continues to accelerate which means more consumer financial data are being generated and stored by the banks.

The goal of Open Banking is for traditional banking institutions to give customers more control over their financial data and account information. It lets users securely share their own transaction data with third parties.

With the digitization that's happening in commerce across Africa, we believe this is the right time for an Open Banking platform to open up the financial data stored by the banks.

Regarding Open Finance

Our mission at Mono is to go beyond banking, by making it possible to access financial accounts for data from multiple financial and non-financial sources. This can help digital businesses build innovative and more inclusive financial services. This includes financial data from digital players like big tech companies (e.g Flutterwave), fintech (e.g Kuda), or gig economy platforms (Uber), as well as traditional financial entities like insurance issuers (Tangerine), telcos (MTN), or even utility providers like electricity companies (Buypower) because every action being taken across these sources is data that can be leveraged to enhance customers financial lives.

Our journey so far

Mono's first product offering, Mono Connect, launched in 2020. Connect enables our partners to make it possible for their users to securely link their financial accounts to share their data like transactions, bank statements, income, and identity data.

Since launch, we’ve grown to service 200+ valued customers & partners including Flutterwave, Renmoney, Aella, Credpal, Lendsqr, Float, Payhippo and so many more.

To date, Mono has delivered over 200 million units of financial data to our partners.

Growing to increase our impact

Our team is currently made up of 30 amazing and mission-driven people, who have enabled Mono to get where it is today. In order to help businesses and developers in every corner of Africa to take advantage of the open banking and finance revolution, we need to grow our team.

In addition, the newly raised funds will enable us to expand our products to new countries, scale our product development efforts to meet rapidly increasing market demand and support its exponential growth, double our existing connection coverage, reaching over 50 integrations, and launch our bank-to-bank payment initiation offering in Nigeria by the end of the year.

As our ecosystem takes off with new users coming online and startups being created, the data that is being generated, correlated, and used is beneficial not just to the consumer but to all third-party service providers using Mono products.
What next?

Our plan is very simple — continue supporting our valued customers and partners with the most innovative features and solutions on the market to enable access to financial accounts. This starts with the upcoming launch of the much anticipated Mono DirectPay.

We’re just at the start of our journey, and our team is better equipped than ever to orchestrate the open banking and finance infrastructure future for Africa.

Finally, thanks to my ride-or-die partner, Prakhar, for being irreplaceable — without his hard work, Mono won't be here today. And to the rest of the team, thank you for everything!

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