Lupiya, a Zambian neobank, has secured $8.25 million in Series A funding. This fundraising endeavour was spearheaded by the Alitheia IDF Fund, a private equity fund known for its gender-focused investments, and saw participation from INOKS Capital SA and the esteemed German Investment Bank, KfW DEG.
Founded in 2016 by Evelyn Chilomo Kaingu and Muchu Kaingu, Lupiya is an online marketplace for microloans. It is a branchless, innovative digital microfinance platform that leverages technology to make the process of borrowing simpler and easier so that people and businesses located across the country even in rural, remote areas can access financial services.
Its core mission revolves around bridging the financial inclusion gap, offering technology-driven, user-friendly financial solutions to the unbanked and underbanked populations in Zambia.
Evelyn Chilomo Kaingu, co-founder and CEO of Lupiya said: “This Series A investment marks a significant milestone in our journey to continue serving our customers and the opportunity to further provide holistic financial solutions.
“The team at Lupiya has worked hard and is excited for the new phase of our growth. With the support of Alitheia IDF, INOKS Capital, Mastercard, and Kfw DEG, we are better poised to scale our operations and deepen our footprint not just in Zambia but also in the broader Southern and East African region.”
Polo Leteka, founder of South African-based financial service firm IDF Capital and a co-managing partner of Alitheia IDF Fund, expressed their rationale behind leading this funding round, saying, “We have always been on the lookout for startups that are at the cusp of making a significant impact in the financial sector of Africa.
“Lupiya’s vision and dedication to financial and gender inclusion resonates deeply with our own objectives. We believe that with this funding, they will be better equipped to make financial services accessible to many more Zambians.”
Sarah Dusek, a partner at Enygma Ventures, one of Lupiya’s early backers, commented on the neobank’s remarkable growth journey, stating, “It’s remarkable to witness Lupiya’s growth, especially given our initial investment of $1 million during the peak of the pandemic. We have always believed in the resilience and potential of this team.
“Their vision to transform financial inclusion in Zambia, even amidst global challenges, aligns perfectly with Enygma’s mission. Today’s Series A funding further validates our early belief and the transformative power of resilient entrepreneurship.”
Vincent Malekani, Mastercard country director for Zambia and Malawi, highlighted the significance of their collaboration with Lupiya, saying, “Our collaboration with Lupiya stands as a testament to Mastercard’s commitment to fostering digital inclusion across Africa. Its emphasis on bringing reliable financial services to the underserved resonates deeply with us.”
By integrating Mastercard’s payment rails into the Lupiya platform, Mastercard is not only enhancing transaction efficiency for users but also building a more inclusive financial ecosystem in Zambia, says Malekani. “Partnerships of this nature support Mastercard’s global commitment to bring 1 billion people into the digital economy by 2025, including 25 million women entrepreneurs.”
The participation of renowned financial institutions such as INOKS Capital SA and KfW DEG further underscores the trust and confidence that the global investor community places in Lupiya’s potential to grow the financial landscape in Zambia.