ApexPeak has signed a six-month US$10mn financing facility with Kenya-based supply chain finance (SCF) solutions provider Umati Capital.
The Singapore-based lender is expected to increase lending to Umati on a month-by-month basis, from an initial lending limit of US$300,000 per month to up to as much as US$7mn per month by the end of 2014.
Umati co-founder, Ivan Mbowa, says the financing will better-enable the nationwide adoption of the company’s M-Trader solution: one of three mobile applications launched recently as part of a suite of products designed to make it easier for SME farmers and multinationals in Kenya to adopt invoice discounting. The M-trader solution enables suppliers to manage payments and cash-flow from their mobile phones.
“Since the launch of M-Trader, we have attracted a pipeline of over 50,000 active users, and we are confident our loan book will grow twenty-fold by December 2014,” says Mbowa. “Four large industrial companies purchasing volume agriculture products for retail sale have also joined the programme, and we expect this number to grow before the year is out.”
The African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) has agreed to underwrite the facility, providing cover against payment default risks. In a statement, ATI spokesperson Rennie Kariuki says: “Typically most start-ups would have to source this type of insurance cover on the international markets, which probably would have declined the transaction. This is the unique space that ATI is trying to fill in Africa with commercial risk insurance.”