Uzoma Dozie’s Sparkle raises $3.1 million in seed round
The all-Nigerian funding round will see the lifestyle fintech platform invest in infrastructure and scale across the Diaspora.
Sparkle, a mobile-first digital bank that provides financial, lifestyle and business support services to Nigerians across the globe, has raised $3.1 million (N1.3 billion) in a seed round. The funding was provided by an all-Nigerian group of investors, including Leadway Assurance, Trium Networks and a number of high net-worth individuals (HNIs).
This follows a previous friends and family pre-seed round, totalling $2 million (N857 million), bringing Sparkle’s total funding to $5.1 million (N2.1 billion).
In a statement sent to Financial Nigeria, Sparkle said the new investment will be used to scale the platform’s talent teams across engineering, financial risk and marketing departments and investing in its automated backend processes and digital infrastructure.
Uzoma Dozie, the Founder of Sparkle, led Diamond Bank as CEO into its merger with Access Bank Plc in 2019, with the latter being the successor institution. Since launching Sparkle latter that year, the new bank has developed a digital-first users base who have access to features such as savings, bill payments, airtime/cable/utility/transport top-ups, the ability to request or send funds, split bills, review spending breakdowns and more, all via the Sparkle app.
Sparkle has seen triple digit growth between 2020/21 and will now continue its focus of connecting Nigerians and the global Nigerian Diaspora by building a different type of financial services platform that is more than just banking, but a means of improving the financial lifestyle of its users, allowing for borderless transactions, the statement said.
In April 2021, Sparkle launched its business platform, Sparkle Business, targeted at the new generation of digital first MSMEs and SMEs in Nigeria, with features such as Inventory and Invoice Management, a Payment Gateway Service, Tax Advisory/Calculations and Payroll/Employee Management. Sparkle Business is the only Nigerian business account where no documentation is required to open an account: to register, individuals require a personal Sparkle account, Tax Identification Number (TIN), and an email address connected to their TIN.
“I’m delighted to be collaborating with a group of highly respected Nigerian businesses, investment firms and captains of industry – all of whom understand the real need for a digital-first platform such as Sparkle, to bring better access to financial services and, importantly, financial inclusion, to millions more people – for business, for personal means or both,” said Uzoma Dozie, Sparkle’s CEO. “Collectively, as a group of investors and business builders, we are Nigerians who are bullish about Nigeria and the opportunity the country presents in terms of building global networks and communities, all via one app. I am excited to welcome our new investors into the Sparkle tribe and will be leaning on their sector expertise and insight to build long-lasting partnerships as we scale.”
Sparkle users are able to open an account in less than five minutes via a Smartphone, without the need for documentation or in-person / banking hall verification. The platform also has a Visa card function for users to make in-person or digital payments. The platform has also secured partnerships with Visa, Network International, PriceWaterHouse Cooper Nigeria and secured a Microfinance Bank licence from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Uzoma concludes, “The future is about platforms, and connected platforms, to create seamless customer experience and, as we say, helping our users do what they want to do.”
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