Imalipay gets $3 million funding to help underserved gig worker

Sub-Saharan Africa has the world’s youngest region, with over 60% of its population being below 25 years, and it comprises 13% of the world’s workforce, second only to Asia. Although the gig economy is rapidly gaining acceptance on the continent, there are still major problems with the working model.

Access is a major problem. Although some gig platforms have attempted to assist gig workers in scaling this wall, there are still significant bottlenecks.

However, there are fintech platforms that offer financial services for gig workers. This number is expected to exceed 80 million by 2030.

Imalipay was one such platform. Imalipay was founded in 2020. It describes itself as the financial sidekick of blue-collar gig workers and freelancers. The platform’s financial services team closed a $3million equity and debt seed round.

Imalipay was launched by Zimbabwean Tatenda Furusa and Nigeria’s Oluwasanmi Akinmusire after they noticed the challenges ride-hailing drivers had to deal with like running out of fuel and working financial services.

According to the startup CEO, Tatenda Furusa, “We researched the gig economy and found that they were neglected by some financial services. And we saw that we were perfectly placed on building fintech services that will solve the problems of Africa’s gig economy workers, freelancers and self-employed digital workers.

ImaliPay’s pilot a buy now, pay later (BNPL) fuel product, but for two-wheeler gig platforms as the company partnered with a few fuel stations in Ibadan, Nigeria to offer this service to SafeBoda riders.

The startup created a partner network that allows it to access new users and supports its marketplace and ecosystem.

Over the years, the startup is currently operational in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa and has partnered with Cellulant, Stitch,  MicroEnsure, and bike hailing startup Safeboda.

According to the founders, the new funds will be used to expand its 50-man team, boost its technology, and explore new markets such as Ghana and Egypt.

Follow-on investors were received from VCs including Ten 13, Uncovered Fund. MyAsia VC. Jedar Capital. Logos Ventures. Plug N Play Ventures. Untapped Global. Cliff Angels. Chandaria Capital. Changecom. KSK Angels’ Keisuke Honda and other angel investors from Norway, Serbia, Kenya, and Norway participated in the round.

In 15 months of operation, ImaliPay’s user base has grown by 60x. The gig workers, who the company commented are in the “tens of thousands,” access its services across 4,500 vendor points.

Over 200,000 transactions have been carried out on ImaliPay’s platform. The pan-African embedded finance provider’s revenues come from transaction and referral fees.

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