Goldman Sachs-Backed South African Fintech Firm Jumo Selected For Google Launchpad

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli

South African fintech platform Jumo has been chosen for a second time to participate in Google‘s Launchpad Studio accelerator program, joining a cohort of companies from nine countries, mostly in the fintech sector, according to a company statement.

Jumo is a financial services platform for emerging markets. It analyzes user data collected from mobile phones and networks to predict whether a person is able to repay a loan.


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Jumo also lends money based on its analysis through banks that work with the company. To date, Jumo has originated more than $1 billion in loans on its platform for 10 million-plus customers, with around 70 percent of the company’s customer base being micro- and small-business owners, according to BankingTech.

Emerging-market entrepreneurs find it particularly difficult to get funding. Jumo is therefore providing for a market that has been historically ignored. The firm combines data and technology to deliver products designed to reach and fit the 80 percent of the world’s population that they believe are underserved by traditional financial services, according to the company.

South African fintech firm attracting investment

U.S.-based investment bank Goldman Sachs led a $52-million investment round in September 2018, according to the company. Goldman Sachs was a new investor for Jumo, leading the round that would be dedicated to expanding the firm’s growth into new Asian and African markets.

That funding round culminated at the end of 2018 with an additional $12.5 million in funding from a London-based investor — U.K. investment firm Odey Asset Management, according to ITWebAfrica.

Jumo
Eleven new 11 tech startups selected for the second Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa class. Photo – AP

In November 2017 Jumo secured a $24 million loan from Gemcorp Capital and Finnfund, which contributed $6 million of the $24 million, according to ITWebAfrica. The investment round in 2018 brought Jumo’s total funding to date to $103 million, Finextra reported.

Google taking notice

The success of the South African fintech firm attracted Google’s attention, and the Silicon Valley-based tech giant has selected Jumo to join its Launchpad Studio initiative.Jumo will join companies from nine countries and four continents, mostly in the fintech sector, according to Ventureburn.

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Google Launchpad Studio is a product development acceleration program giving tech companies the opportunity to work alongside Google’s artificial intelligence and machine learning research and development teams to improve their products.

This means that Jumo’s executive team will have access to experts and mentors from Google and Silicon Valley.

Jumo was the first South African startup to be selected by Google for its Launchpad accelerator in 2017, reports ITNewsAfrica. Company leaders got to attend a two-week boot camp at Google’s headquarters in California.

The executive team at Jumo also got six months of support and mentorship, as well as $50,000 in funding.

Jumo’s technology is used by global telecommunications and banking giants including Africa’s largest mobile operator MTN, Airtel, South African bank FNB, and Telenor bank in Pakistan, according to BusinessInsider.