Tuma, a Congolese fintech startup, has raised the largest investment round in fintech for the Congolese tech ecosystem ever. 

Tuma, a fintech startup in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has raised $500,000 in funding—the largest investment round for a Congolese fintech ever. The round saw participation from Visa, Visible Hands, and the Social Justice Fund. The two-year-old startup says that the funding will allow it to expand into other markets and improve its product offerings.

Last year, according to Partech, the Congolese startup ecosystem raised $38 million (98% went to crypto firm Jambo) in funding after raising $1 million in 2022, making it the 11th most funded African country. Much of this funding has gone into the fintech industry, as the country’s financial system remains incapable of solving its problems. The country’s bank penetration rate hovers around 6%, and only 25% of the population has an account with a financial institution. 

Founded by Elijah Lubala and Mpilo Makae, Tuma is trying to bring financial inclusion to Congo by providing a digital solution that allows merchants to receive card payments on their phones. Almost half of the country has a mobile phone. Using software POS technology, the startup can transform any phone into a POS by allowing customers to tap their cards on the back of the phone. Tuma has partnered with other financial institutions like UBA Bank Group, Credit Bank Kenya, InTouch, Appiawave, Cellulant, and Seerbit to make this possible. 

Tuma’s funding comes after the DRC government introduced a startup act last year. The startup bill was signed into law on September 8, 2022, by President Felix Tshisekedi and was designed to attract investment and support the tech innovators and entrepreneurs contributing to the country’s digital transformation. 

“This act and other steps by the DRC government will help put the country back on the map of credible African tech ecosystems with a visible legal framework, making it easier for investors to come in,” Hannah Subayi, co-founder of DRC Impact Angels, told TechCabal last year. With Tuma’s funding, it seems like Subayi was right.

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