Through the funding, Carbon’s Disrupt fund, the company said it will invest up to $10,000 per startup (for 5% equity) and give access to Carbon’s API, allowing investees to leverage Carbon’s growing customer base and innovative technology platform, to get to market faster.
Acknowledging that its success is dependent on the growth of the tech ecosystem, Carbon expects the initiative to spark more collaboration and further investment that should drive growth across the ecosystem.
Chijioke Dozie, CEO and co-founder of Carbon, said, “Common investor wisdom is to stay in your market and dominate. This assumes that you are expanding on your own but we believe that by collaborating and partnering deliberately, Carbon and other tech companies can scale faster and build more enduring platforms. There are many excellent companies across the continent looking for the kind of scale Nigeria offers and we are excited to partner with them to provide the support and financial investment they need. We are equally excited to expand beyond Nigeria and Kenya by working with a new generation of innovators across the continent and sharing our experience to tackle common obstacles to growth”
Ngozi Dozie, the co-founder of Carbon, added that “The investing environment for early-stage startups has improved in recent years. However, a key issue for most startups that has not been addressed is the cost of customer acquisition. A lot of money is spent on acquiring customers, mainly via social media, when a more collaborative approach among tech companies could be more efficient. Our fund will enable this collaboration, allowing others to market to our customer base and vice versa - a win-win for everyone.”
Carbon's $100,000 Pan-African fund applications roll out
The company is now accepting applications from companies with operations in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and Egypt.
Startups must have a functioning product, post-revenue, and looking to operate in multiple countries.
The fund has a wide investment mandate but target sectors include insurance, health, education which have not seen as much investment as the fintech space.
Carbon disburses more than $63.7 million in loans in 2019
Since 2016, Carbon said it boasts of 2.1 million users, disbursed more than $63.7 million in loans in 2019, and processed more than $140 million in transactions.
In December 2019, Carbon expanded expansion into the Kenyan market, as well as its Carbon for Business platform which provides startups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and FinTechs with access to uncollateralized credit, secure online payments, reliable funds transfer and fast KYC (know your customer) compliance obligations.