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Local start-up Stitch raises R60m funding

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South African fintech start-up Stitch has announced a $4 million (R60 million) seed round with an investor line-up that includes the founders of Venmo, Klarna and Flutterwave, and the founding team from Plaid and Revolut.

The start-up company says this is the largest investment to date in a pure-play African fintech infrastructure firm, and one of the largest seed stage payments raised in Africa.

Stitch’s application programming interface (API) tooling allows new fintechs and innovative incumbents to leapfrog traditional solutions and launch products quickly and securely, says the company.

Within minutes, it notes, developers can connect apps to financial accounts, allowing their users to share their transaction history and balances, confirm their identity and initiate payments.

“This makes it easier for companies to build new and improved services, including personal finance, lending, insurance, payments and wealth management. Further, it enables developers and fintechs to work more closely with traditional financial institutions, in a safer and more compliant way,” the firm notes.

Stitch says it attracted a stellar group of investors to its seed round, co-led by Firstminute Capital and the Raba Partnership, including CRE, Village Global, Klarna founder Niklas Adalberth (through his fund Norrsken), Venmo founder Iqram Magdon Ismail, founding team members at Plaid, and executives at Coinbase, Revolut and Fast.

The investor cohort also includes African fintech leaders from Flutterwave (founder Iyinoluwa Aboyeji through fund Future Africa) and Paystack. Village Global brings backing from limited partners, such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Eric Schmidt and Jeff Bezos.

“Africa has the fastest-growing developer community globally and Stitch has the opportunity to become the core piece of infrastructure to enable further digitisation in the financial services industry across the continent,” says Brent Hoberman, co-founder and general partner of Firstminute Capital.

“Every online business in Africa should be able to easily embed fintech capabilities into their applications – facilitating online payments, increasing lending capacity and streamlining KYC [know your customer] and identity checks. Stitch enables this through a single API. As a fellow South African, I’m excited to be partnering up with a team who have hired exceptional talent from the local ecosystem with pan-African ambitions.”

“Companies that drastically advance the infrastructure of our basic needs are very important,” says Venmo founder and Stitch shareholder Iqram Magdon Ismail. “Stitch is building the solution that will unlock value for all banks and financial institutions in Africa.”

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