Ovamba Solutions, Inc.
Ovamba innovates technologies to help SMEs in Africa & other emerging markets to grow, & provides them with short term capital.
Ovamba created a culturally astute risk measuring algorithm to better understand and serve Africans with financial services and capital for growth. They also created a natural language chatbot which allows Africans who do not speak english, french or Arabic to be able to apply for funding from Ovamba in their own language and receive business coaching to help them grow and run better businesses. The model blends Sharia & ethical business elements with eCommerce, logistics & warehousing to deliver full end-to-end services help grow SMEs operating in the trade sector. Ovamba also funds commodities and exports.
Ovamba was founded in 2013 in the US by long-time friends, Viola Llewellyn and Marvin Cole, who saw an opportunity to help empower fellow entrepreneurs in Africa and the Middle East by providing them with the access to finance needed in order to flourish their businesses. The problem they were solving was twofold; firstly, banks were slow and ill-equipped to adapt to meet the demands of fast moving African small businesses; and secondly, banks’ limited due diligence procedures made it hard for entrepreneurs with no previous track record to get started.
Marvin and Viola decided to combine their experience of the finance and technology sectors and build a platform that would offer fast access to business growth support delivered via mobile phone. Complementing its world-class technology, the platform further set itself apart by offering the ability to analyse real-time risk in Africa based on deep traditional and cultural knowledge from on-the-ground teams, thereby creating a system of both technical and local know-how.
In 2014, Ovamba attracted significant investment from UK-based GLI Finance, whose backers include Blackrock Global, AXA Investment Managers and Barclays Wealth. Ovamba then set up its first operations in Cameroon – a country with over 200 local languages, Muslim and Christian communities, and an economy almost entirely comprised of SMEs. It was the perfect place to prove the model.
With a strong track record of successful transactions, in 2016 Ovamba attracted further investment from other investment platforms, such as Japan’s leading fintech emerging markets investor – Crowdcredit. This has enabled Ovamba to expand its operations into multiple geographies.
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