• With much of this funding going into fintech, VC funding has been a powerful force for accelerating financial inclusion
  • However, much of the financial inclusion gains made in Africa have so far come from mobile money, payments, and credit rather than product segments like savings and investment

Alvin, a Kenyan mobile app that uses gamified finance, automated budgeting, and location-triggered notifications to help users spend smarter, save more, and pay down debt, has secured $740,000 in pre-seed funding led by led by Ingressive Capital with participation with participation from Tahseen Consulting and leading angel investors like Paystack’s cofounder and Chief Executive Officer Shola Akinlade.

Other notable investors included Zephyr Acorn, Voltron Capital, Future Africa, and strategic angels who were early investors and advisors to leading tech African and global tech companies like Stitch, Omnisient, Bamboo, Bolt, Uber, Bird, and Airbnb. The funding will be used to expand Alvin’s team, accelerate product development, and speed expansion.

“Utilizing mobile phone and spending data to enable retail investors to set aside money to achieve savings goals and make smart money moves that build wealth is a growing trend in emerging digital economies. Similar to the United States in 2021, 2022 in Africa could be the The Year of the Retail Investor. Africa’s retail investing boom is being fueled by startups like Bamboo, Stitch, and Omnisient which are democratizing retail investing through easy-to-use investing apps, seamless payments and transfers, and reaching credit invisibles,” said Wes Schwalje, Chief Operating Officer of Tahseen Consulting.

Lower-interest rates, high minimums account requirements, and the slow adoption of technology by commercial banks have pushed Africans towards fintech alternatives to traditional banks. At the same time, much of the financial inclusion gains made in Africa have come from mobile money, payments, and credit rather than product segments like savings and investment. Africa’s young, digitally-savvy consumers are now seeking digital solutions that enable them to more easily and conveniently protect and grow their money.

Now only available in Kenya, the Alvin app is currently in private beta. It features automated expense tracking for mobile money and the ability to create a budget in two minutes. It also shows users how much they can spend on things like groceries, entertainment, and rent each month based on their income and savings goals. Alvin will also eventually launch an embedded finance API that will enable wealth managers and other apps, like ridesharing platforms, to offer high-interest savings products and other embedded financial services. The Alvin app will launch publicly in Kenya in the next few months, and it will expand to Nigeria in the latter half of 2022.


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