American fintech UMBA acquires majority stake in Kenya’s Daraja Microfinance

UMBA, a U.S-based fintech whose investments spread to emerging markets has acquired a majority stake in Daraja, a Kenyan deposit-taking microfinance bank.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) in a statement released today said UMBA purchased a 66.6% stake, a move that’s expected to reorganize Daraja’s performance in the digital space.

UMBA has been operating in Nigeria since 2018. It raised $15 million in a pre-series A round in April this year, the same time when it announced plans to expand to Kenya, Ghana and Egypt. The company has so far raised $17.5 million. Investors who have funded the startup include; Tom Blomfield, the co-founder of Monzo, Lachy Groom and ACT Ventures, Lux Capital, Palm Drive Capital, Banana Capital, Streamlined Ventures and Costanoa Ventures.

The company was founded Tiernan Kennedy and Barry O’Mahony and has several products including free accounts, interbank transfers, peer-to-peer transfers, and bill payment services.

A statement from the CBK said, “The investment by UMBA will strengthen Daraja MFB’s business model. In particular, it will support the digitization of Daraja MFB as it moves to provide ‘anytime anywhere’ services to its customers. This is aligned with CBK’s vision of a microfinance banking sector that works for and with Kenya,”

Daraja has been in operation since 2015 with small and medium enterprises forming part of its most significant customers.

This acquisition gives Daraja a competitive advantage in the country’s highly dynamic financial market.

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Simon W Nderitu

Simon is a tech enthusiast who keeps a close eye on emerging technologies, startups and the general business environment. You will often catch him totally immersed and drooling over Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, IoT and just about any other tech that promises to revolutionize the way we live. Send tips to

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