Migo (formerly Mines.io), a startup reinventing the way people access and use credit in emerging markets, has completed a Series B equity round of $20 million led by Valor Capital Group, a Brazil-focused venture capital firm. Existing investors, The Rise Fund (managed by TPG Growth) and Velocity Capital, also joined the funding round along with new investors, Africinvest and Cathay Innovation. This financing will support talent acquisition and Migo’s launch into the Brazilian market, as well as its continued growth in Nigeria.
Migo is a cloud-based platform that enables companies to offer credit to their customers, augmenting traditional bank and payment card infrastructure. Companies like banks, telecommunications operators and merchants integrate Migo in their apps and Migo underwrites customers to provide them with a digital account and credit line.
The customers can use this credit line to make purchases from a merchant or withdraw cash without the need for point-of-sale hardware or plastic cards. Migo serves underbanked customers who are not typically covered by credit bureaus, having underwritten more than seven million of these customers to date. An estimated 90 million adults in Nigeria and 100 million adults in Brazil have no access to credit, and this is a massive area of untapped growth for emerging market banking ecosystems.
“Our mission is to drive commerce around the world by injecting liquidity into the last-mile retail sector,” explains Migo CEO, Ekechi Nwokah. “We believe the best way to achieve this goal is to build digital infrastructure to empower local enterprises that already serve millions of consumers and small businesses.”
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Migo offers a simple API so its partners can offer co-branded credit services in their own apps and websites, increasing customer engagement and serving customer segments they were not previously able to serve. Migo is particularly attractive for merchants and payment gateways since it can grow merchant revenue due to increased customer purchasing power and transaction completion rate.
As part of the financing, Antoine Colaco from Valor Capital has joined the Migo Board of Directors. “Migo combines world-class technology with a deep understanding of the needs of consumers and small businesses in emerging markets. We are excited to partner with them in Brazil and beyond,” Colaco said.
Migo enables some of the largest retail enterprises in Africa—from mobile operators like 9mobile and MTN to payment companies Interswitch and Flutterwave to banks like Bank of Industry and Fidelity Bank. Migo is now expanding to Brazil and partnering with some of the largest retail enterprises in Latin America.
“The typical Silicon Valley approach of move-fast-and-break-things doesn’t work well in emerging markets. To create durable solutions, it is important to combine the audacity of cutting-edge technology with humility to the nuances of local markets” says VP of Growth, Adia Sowho.
Migo started out as a research project on high-performance artificial intelligence led by Migo Chief Scientist, Kunle Olukotun, a professor of computer engineering at Stanford University. This project came to life after a chance meeting between Olukotun and Nwokah, a computer scientist working on big data projects at Amazon Web Services.
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Following their meeting, the pair teamed up to direct the technology toward solving credit in emerging markets. This big data approach is one of the company’s key advantages, as it aggregates massive amounts of data across all of its partners to improve population coverage and credit decisions over time.