Nigeria’s OnePipe raises $3.5M to double down on its embedded finance offering – TechCrunch


Last yr, fintech API infrastructure gamers got here into the African tech scene, ushering in Plaid-like companies to companies and builders.

And the eye on these firms, significantly from enterprise capitalists, spiralled into this yr, with every vital participant elevating giant seed to Series A rounds.

OnePipe, a fintech API firm with a distinct play from the lot, joins the checklist at present, elevating $3.5 million seed to double down on its embedded finance offering.

African impact-focused VC Atlantica Ventures, a co-lead investor in OnePipe’s $950,000 pre-seed spherical final yr, additionally co-led this seed spherical alongside Tribe Capital and V&R Associates.

New buyers Canaan Partners, Saison Capital, Norrsken (the fund of Klarna founder Niklas Adalberth), The Fund and Two Culture Cap additionally participated. Existing buyers Chris Adelsbach, Techstars, Ingressive Capital, Acquity, P1, Raba and DFS Lab adopted on with new checks, alongside just a few angel buyers.

There are typically three principal fintech API infrastructure performs. One is information and monetary accounts aggregation (Plaid, Okra, Mono, Stitch and Pngme are some gamers within the house).

The second focuses on embedded finance and banking as a service, the place Treasury Prime, Marqeta ply their commerce. The third is core open banking pioneered by the likes of TrueLayer.

OnePipe’s authentic recreation plan was to create an API gateway that linked banks and fintechs beneath a uniform commonplace, a transfer that will enable the corporate to carry out core open banking. 

But founder and CEO Ope Adeoye (self-described as the corporate’s chief plumber), on a name with TechCrunch, mentioned upon steady integration with these monetary establishments, it turned clear the corporate wanted to pivot because it wasn’t producing many demand cycles.

And having struck partnerships with just a few banks, OnePipe determined to take a step again and delve into the world of embedded finance.

Unlike open banking and information aggregation performs the place an organization wants to collaborate with virtually each financial institution within the nation the place they function, it’s not essentially the case with firms offering embedded finance. That’s why OnePipe has six accomplice banks in the mean time.

“The caveat goes like this, the moment you make a positioning play for banking as a service, all you really need is one partner bank that lets you go deep because the embedded finance [offering] is about depth and not breadth,” mentioned the CEO.

“If you go for data aggregation or open banking in general, then you are going for breadth, not depth. So on our side, we said we’d rather go with tier two and tier three bands, where once you describe the concept to them, they get it. It powers their growth and is more valuable to them, unlike other larger financial institutions.”

By working API infrastructure on behalf of those accomplice banks and serving to them monetize it, OnePipe works with non-financial establishments to launch and cross-sell an array of monetary companies corresponding to credit score, accounts and funds inside their choices.  

“We raised a round last year to focus on one use case of the partnership, which was to pull together the APIs of a fixed set of banks and offer embedded banking or banking as a service play,” Adeoye asserted. “Meaning, we make it possible for non-financial institutions, or businesses in general, to offer banking services to their customers.”

So an FMCG startup, for example, can plug right into a financial institution’s API managed by OnePipe and start to difficulty accounts to prospects, permitting them to make funds off these accounts and entry credit score after they want it.

In the 10 months OnePipe switched up to this mannequin, it has processed greater than 6.Three million transactions price over $46.Three million, the corporate mentioned. These numbers are from over 1 million particular person accounts and 138+ companies, starting from FMCG and retail to lending and agriculture.

OnePipe takes a proportion reduce from transactions made on these accounts and shares with its accomplice banks. For loans provided through its APIs, OnePipe takes at the least 1% of the mortgage curiosity from its lending companions and in addition shares it with the companies and accomplice banks.

With what OnePipe has achieved to date, Aniko Szigetvari, the founding accomplice at Atlantica Ventures, believes the corporate will not be solely deepening monetary inclusion in Nigeria however the continent. 

“In our view, embedded finance is the next enabler for both traditional and financial service businesses to increase customer loyalty and revenue by offering a wide range of third-party financial products and revenue streams for their customers,” she mentioned.

Though OnePipe is at the moment solely current in Nigeria, it’s making its first transfer past the nation’s shores to align with Szigetvari’s assertion.

OnePipe goes by a strategic partnership route as Adeoye talked about that his firm made a take care of African logistics and freight firm Sendy to increase into different African international locations. Per the corporate’s assertion, the plan is to “pull a Stripe-Shopify-esque tag team.”

“We made sure that before we looked into other African countries, we were going in with a customer on the ground already,” mentioned the CEO. “We did a deal with Sendy that made them participate in this round, and we will then deploy the capital for expansion. So as they go to Egypt, South Africa, we’ll be deploying with them and grow together.”

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