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Umati Capital secures $10m finance line from ApexPeak

By Tom Jackson, South Africa

Kenyan financial tech startup Umati Capital has agreed a deal with ApexPeak securing its first line of wholesale capital, which will see the latter offer a finance line commencing at US$300,000 per month but expected to grow to US$5-7 million per month before the end of 2014.

ApexPeak, which is headquartered in Singapore and has an office in Cape Town, South Africa, was established in 2013 to ease cash-flow problems for companies by buying e-invoices before they are due.

Umati believes it is set to make the adoption of invoice discounting easy for SME farmers and multinationals with its product M-Trader, which has just been through a six-month pilot. The company has been seeking funding since earlier this year to expand across Kenya and reach more agriculture-related businesses.

“We are confident our loan book will grow twenty-fold come December 2014. Since the launch of M-Trader, we have attracted a pipeline of over 50,000 active users,” said co-founder Ivan 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.”

ApexPeak said it had stepped in to provide funding for Umati when bank and non-bank providers of capital proved unwilling. The US$300,000 per month provided initially could increase to upwards of US$10 million.

“We understand the challenges of setting up a supply chain finance platform. We were interested in the credit worthiness of the buyers, and the banks were interested in the credit worthiness of Umati. As Umati has no trading history, there was a problem,” said Gakim Solomons, chief executive officer (CEO) of ApexPeak.

“Most companies, when they talk about supply chain finance, struggle to get SMEs to adopt simple measures like paperless invoicing. Umati has gone one step further and shown the industry that supply chain finance can work from a cell phone. We are hoping Umati will make its technology available to other markets.”

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